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Openness Model of God

Interview with Professor Clark H. Pinnock,

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MR: Dr. Pinnock, you were once a Calvinist theologian. Today, you are at the vanguard of a movement among evangelical scholars away from Augustinian or Reformational theology. Do you believe your odyssey is illustrative of our moment? And if so, why?
CP: People move in different directions over a lifetime. Some move to Calvinism, others away from it, according to their consciences, God being their judge. My pilgrimage may not have any wider significance than it has for me personally. I am God's unworthy servant. He leads me and I try to follow-like you do yourselves.

Setting up this exchange (though) suggests that you think it worth discussing. From my standpoint, what my pilgrimage may signify is that I along with others have sensed the need for a better theological articulation of our dynamic relationship with God. Theological determinism makes it difficult to view that relationship as real and it is (I think) existentially repugnant in robbing human life of its God-given significance. If God has already decided everything, it is hard to make sense of the give-and-take relationships of love and it suggests that we add nothing to what God has already decided. Unless Calvinism can help with this dilemma more effectively, something like the "openness" model of God will have an appeal.

I encourage you to make a better case for your model in order to help people overcome the paralyzing implications of what you seem to be saying. I suppose my pilgrimage is a challenge in that I don't think you can do it. That is not to say Reformed theologians as such cannot help-such as Karl Barth, Hendrikus Berkhof, Vincent Brummer, Donald Bloesch, and Adrio Konig-only that paleo-Calvinism probably cannot.


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1 [ Back ] Donald Bloesch, Essentials of Evangelical Theology, I, (San Francisco: Harper and Row: 1978) 107.


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Issue: "Predestination and the Freedom of God" Nov./Dec. 1998 Vol. 7 No. 6 Page number(s): 23-25

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