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Is the New News Good News?

Shifting Views Concerning God in Our Day

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It is the Gospel that makes the affirmation of God's omnipotence welcome rather than fearful news.

Evangelical theologian Clark Pinnock appears to be the leading spokesperson for a growing trend toward what he and his colleagues call the "openness of God" theology. In this system, "God does not control everything that happens," or, for that matter, know everything that will happen. Rather, "In loving dialogue, God invites us to participate with him to bring the future into being." What is desperately needed, Pinnock and other progressive theologians say, is a theology "that reinforces, rather than makes problematic, our relational experience with God." (1)

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1 [ Back ] Clark Pinnock, et. al., The Openness of God: A Biblical Challenge to the Traditional Understanding of God (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1994), 7-8.
2 [ Back ] See the entire issue of Christianity Today, February 3, 1997.
3 [ Back ] Hans Kung, Credo: The Apostles' Creed Explained for Today (New York: Doubleday, 1993), 86.
4 [ Back ] Ibid., 87.
5 [ Back ] Sallie McFague, Models of God (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1987), 64.
6 [ Back ] For further discussion of the Father and the Trinity, see my We Believe: Recovering the Essentials of the Apostles' Creed (Nashville: Word, 1998), chapters 2-3.
7 [ Back ] "Panentheism" differs from "pantheism." Panentheism is that view that God is dependent on the world for his fulfillment; creation is in him, but he is still larger than it. Pantheism, on the other hand, identifies God with all, and all with God.
8 [ Back ] For an excellent, more detailed discussion of the place of the incarnation in responding to these challenges, see Richard Muller, "Incarnation, Immutability, and the Case for Classical Theism," Westminster Theological Journal 45 (1983), 22-40.

Michael Horton is the J. Gresham Machen professor of apologetics and systematic theology at Westminster Seminary California (Escondido, California), host of the White Horse Inn, national radio broadcast, and editor-in-chief of Modern Reformation magazine. He is author of many books, including The Gospel-Driven Life, Christless Christianity, People and Place, Putting Amazing Back Into Grace, The Christian Faith, and For Calvinism.

Issue: "God in Our Image: Why Some Evangelicals Are Challenging the Traditional View of God" Sept./Oct. 1999 Vol. 8 No. 5 Page number(s): 11-19

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