Reflections On Theological Method And The Doctrine Of God: A Review Of James Dolezal’s “All That Is In God”“” -- By: Richard C. Gamble

Journal: Reformed Presbyterian Theological Journal
Volume: RPTJ 05:2 (Spring 2019)
Article: Reflections On Theological Method And The Doctrine Of God: A Review Of James Dolezal’s “All That Is In God”“”
Author: Richard C. Gamble


Reflections On Theological Method And The Doctrine Of God: A Review Of James Dolezal’s “All That Is In God”“1

Richard C. Gamble

Professor of Systematic Theology
Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary

Dr. James Dolezal’s book All that is in God: Evangelical Theology and the Challenge of Christian Theism makes some strong claims. His opponents throughout the text are theologians he dubs “theistic mutualists” who reject what he terms classical Christian theism. For Dolezal, “no less than true religion is at stake in the contest between theistic mutualism and classical Christian theism.”2

If Professor Dolezal’s claim is accurate, then every believing theologian should purchase his book and prepare for battle! To substantiate the charge, Dolezal himself comes armed with a Ph. D. from Westminster Seminary as well as a first book on the doctrine of God which appeared in 2011.3 The present volume was published by Reformation Heritage Books, part of a well-known and highly honored ministry in Grand Rapids, and carries endorsements from Dr. Paul Helm as well as a professor from Westminster Seminary California and the President of RTS Orlando. Also, TableTalk magazine has endorsed Dolezal’s findings.4 With these soldiers lined up behind him, Dr. Dolezal has caught every readers’ attention.5

Who exactly are the enemy “theistic mutualists”? A partial list includes Covenant and Knox Seminary’s Robert Reymond, Regent Seminary’s J. I. Packer, Westminster/RTS’s John Frame, Westminster’s K. Scott Oliphint, Trinity Seminary’s D. A. Carson, and Southern Seminary’s Bruce A. Ware.

Understanding Theistic Mutualism According To Dolezal

Before we can determine the victors in this great field of battle, we need to define terms and view the terrain of the combat zone. The first question is: What is theistic mutualism and why is the position so detrimental to Christ’s church?

A theistic mutualist insists that God is involved in a genuine give-and-take relationship with his creatures. A theistic mutualist is committed to a way of thinking about God and his relationship to the world whereby he “conceives God as interacting with the world in some way like humans do, even if on a much grander scale.”6 Theistic mutualists believe that God’s being can be moved b...

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