Rejoinder To Replies By Clark H. Pinnock, John Sanders, And Gregory A. Boyd -- By: Bruce A. Ware

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 45:2 (Jun 2002)
Article: Rejoinder To Replies By Clark H. Pinnock, John Sanders, And Gregory A. Boyd
Author: Bruce A. Ware


Rejoinder To Replies By
Clark H. Pinnock, John Sanders, And Gregory A. Boyd

Bruce A. Ware

I wish to express my appreciation to the editor of the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society for his willingness to publish my ETS paper along with these replies and rejoinder. Furthermore, I am grateful for the thoughtful and rigorous responses from Greg Boyd, Clark Pinnock, and John Sanders. In this limited space, I will offer general comments in three areas followed by several brief specific points of engagement.

I. General Comments

1. Legitimacy of this criticism.

I am grateful to Pinnock and nonplused by Boyd at their respective statements on the legitimacy of the criticism undertaken in my ETS presentation. Pinnock notes his opinion that the focus on implications of the distinctive openness view of divine foreknowledge and the resultant place open theism should have within or outside of evangelicalism is “legitimate,” since this distinctive position is, as he writes, “a novel aspect of our view which attracts attention.” Boyd, on the other hand, asserts that “it seems misguided and unchristian to move to brand a position as ‘non-evangelical’ because some cannot understand how they avoid certain negative implications they think their theology implies.” This is a matter of critical importance, so permit me a few responses.

First, apparently Pinnock senses what Boyd misses, and that is the gravity of the openness proposal that would deny of God what has been affirmed and cherished by Christians for many centuries. For countless generations and millions of Christian believers, great strength and hope has been founded on the truth that God knows every detail of what will happen in the future. Even though we are blind to just what tomorrow or next year or the distant future might bring, we may hold the hand of the One who sees that future perfectly and truthfully, in all of its vast and exhaustive (and, yes, definite) detail, and follow him unquestioningly as he directs us and charts the course of our lives. Christian theology has said that this view is essential to our understanding of God, and Christian faith has leaned on it during dark and stormy days. The openness denial of God’s exhaustive knowledge of all that will occur in the future presents a modification to Christian doctrine and faith that is enormously weighty and sobering.

Care must be taken to see just what comes with this denial. If we fail to probe as accurately and fully as possible just what implications this doctrinal innovation brings, and we pass this view on to our churches and children

only later to realize attending problems, we may be respon...

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