Open Theism

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"Turn him loose. He's no threat..."

Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil. (Matthew 5:37)

For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was proclaimed to you by us... was not yes and no; but in him was yes. (2Corinthians 1:19)

An older pastor I respect is not opposed to women elders and pastors, yet I count him a close friend and listen to him carefully. Trained at Pittsburgh Seminary, he spent most of his life serving calls in the mainline Presbyterian Church (USA). Now though, like many of us, the PC(USA)'s promotion of sodomite pastors has led him to leave the denomination.

A few minutes ago, I received this e-mail from him in response to the video clip of Tim Keller being interviewed by Martin Bashir concerning the exclusivity of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Heaven, and Hell. He wrote...

A tsunami of precious equivocation...

It is the final sign of imbecility in a people that it calls cats dogs and describes the sun as the moon—and is very particular about the preciseness of these pseudonyms. To be wrong, and to be carefully wrong, that is the definition of decadence. - G. K. Chesterton

A number of people have forwarded this clip in the past two weeks and it's been hard to know what to do with it. Keller's interview is about as bad as it could be. When the interview hit cyberspace, Keller issued an apology for one or two things he said. But his unfaithfulness to Jesus Christ and the Word of God was no momentary oversight or accident. It was a tsunami of careful, precise, well-placed equivocation, so the apology only made things worse.

For years, now, the Redeemer pastor has demonstrated a heavily nuanced and timid support for orthodox Christian doctrine...

"A minister with a Scripture..."

A few days ago, Tim Keller used his own Gospel Coalition blog to issue an apology for this very bad interview he did back in 2008 in conjunction with the release of his The Reason for God. The matter came to light only now because the video of the interview was only just released by Veritas Forum. Keller's apology is good in that apologies generally are; but it's bad in that some aspects of the interview that are most unfaithful to Scripture aren't addressed by the apology.

Noting this, I submitted a comment under the Gospel Coalition's announcement of the apology. The comment appeared for a few minutes, then was removed. Five days ago I submitted a request to the Coalition's e-mail asking them to...

"But really, he's just not one of them..."

Here's an excellent summary of the pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian in Manhattan by a fan of Scot McKnight and the Bishop of Durham. Don't miss the first comment.


A prayer for the salvation of all men...

ClearNote Church of Bloomington holds both an evening service on Maundy Thursday and a noon service on Good Friday. Here's one of the prayers from our Good Friday service. Jody Killingsworth compiled it from historic sources and I post it here because I found it struck themes missing from our prayers in worship, and very necessary. I'm guessing this will be true of others, also.

* * *

O MERCIFUL God, You have made all men, and You hate nothing that You have made, nor do you desire the death of a sinner, but rather that he should be converted and live. Have mercy therefore, we pray, on all who reject the Gospel—on Pagans, and Atheists; on Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists; on Arians and Roman Catholics, and on all who, in their pride, like to make much of their own ability.

Knowing, Father, that You resist the proud but give grace to the humble, we ask that You...

Reflections on GA: Dialogue with David Wallover, part 2...

"We don't want our denomination to develop a master plan for us. With due respect, we don't need the PCA to plan seats at our table or safe places in our assemblies. What we want and need are faithful courts--bodies that will hold us to our biblical, confessional commitments..."   - David Bayly

(David) Below is the second installment of a dialogue with David Wallover, a friend and fellow PCA pastor. David Wallover's initial email was in response to this post giving my reflections on the Presbyterian Church in America's 2010 General


Dear David (Wallover),

Your presence in the Ohio Presbytery was one of the reasons we chose to cast our lot there so I appreciate your taking the time to respond to my post about the PCA's recent General Assembly.

An initial correction: you speak of the three of us having been in the PCUSA together. Though you and Tim were in the PCUSA in the 90s, I was in a non-confessional Brethren denomination which we left for reasons centering around their acceptance of Open Theism and Inclusivism and their ordination of women to pastoral office rather than the issues that caused you and Tim to leave the PCUSA.

I suspect the differences between our views of the PCA today find their root in the unique circumstances of our respective entries into the PCA.

It was as the pastor of a new church with a functioning elder board and 150 members that I entered the PCA. We weren't searching for identity in entering the PCA, we were looking for a confessional home for an already-established church. We weren't lacking energy, history or character. We didn't need external vision to guide us in serving as salt and light in Toledo. We needed a denominational home that would, should we encounter difficulties beyond our capacity to solve, serve as a 21st-century expression of the Jerusalem Council for us.

Newcomers to the PCA are often surprised to hear...

Four Years and Counting, Dr. Sanders...

In July of 2001 I wrote John Sanders, professor of philosophy at Huntington College and Seminary (the denominational school of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, the denomination within which I was then serving), an open letter criticizing his teaching on "Inclusivism."

In 2002 we left the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, closing Springfield United Brethren Church, giving our building to the denomination, and forming a PCA church. Early this year Sanders also moved on from Huntington College.

Neither of us is where we were four years ago. I know that we rejoice in God's work in our lives since then. I'm not sure where Dr. Sanders is or what his current circumstances are.

I do know, however, that to this day Dr. Sanders has not deigned to address one word of response to my open letter.

So, I present it again here. I do so, in part, because it's my conviction that the most wicked teaching of those within the Open Theism camp is the diminution of the work and person of Jesus Christ implicit in the Inclusivism of John Sanders and several other prominent Open Theists.

Not all advocates of Open Theism promote inclusivism. But I am convinced that the logic of Open Theism, with its emphasis on human choice, leads directly to a faulty view of the atonement, from penal substitutionary atonement to governmental (at best) and more often a moral influence view of the atonement. And once the atonement is lost, all orthodoxy quickly follows.

So, again, if you're out there Dr. Sanders, four years and counting on the questions I put to you when you were a professor at Huntington College....