We Can Trust God with Free Will

Open Theism is the Christian doctrine that the future is not settled but open because God is alive, eternally free, and inexhaustibly creative. From our recent James White vs. Bob Enyart Open Theism Debate, this 2-minute video documents the shocking aftermath involving R.C. Sproul Jr. and James White: 


* James White's 2015 Article
: Six months later, James White wrote yet another article on this and as previously, he again failed to quote himself or R.C. Sproul Jr. in his defense of what they wrote. (A listener of both the BEL and Wretched talk shows had written Wretched's Todd Friel in January 2015 to ask him to urge his friend James White to retract his heretical denial of God the Son's two natures. Friel did forward the issue on to White, but insisted that there was nothing of this issue remaining to be answered.) However, on James White's Jan. 22, 2015 Facebook post, after initially blocking Enyart's question, Dr. White left this unanswered: "James White, do you affirm that the Second Person of the Trinity has both a divine and a human nature?"

See our official White vs. Enyart web page for the "Shocking Debate Aftermath" details or to watch the full debate.

Open Theism Debates

Is the Future Settled or Open? Samuel Lamerson vs. Bob Enyart. Dr. Lamerson is professor of New Testament and interim president of Knox Theological Seminary which was founded by the late D. James Kennedy. Since 1991 Pastor Bob Enyart of Denver Bible Church has hosted a daily talk radio program.

James White vs. Bob Enyart -- Open Theism: Is the Future Settled or Open? The OpenTheism.org team organized the July 8, 2014 debate between leading reformed theologian Dr. James White and OT proponent Pastor Bob Enyart held before a live audience in downtown Denver's historic Brown Palace hotel.

Chris Fisher Debates a Calvinist on God’s ability to deceive, the nature of Jesus, and prophecy.

God is Open Aurora Colorado's Calvary Chapel pastor Ed Taylor and DBC pastor Bob Enyart informally debate on the radio about God being eternally free, inexhaustibly creative, and able to have new thoughts.

Will Duffy debates an Arminian Pastor Jaltus on the freedom that God had before creation.

Open Theism Debate The North American Reformed Seminary (TNARS) president Dr. Larry Bray vs. Colorado pastor Bob Enyart.

See also the open theism debates in the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society.


Honorable Mention: Related Debates

Former Calvinist Austin Fischer debates James White on the British radio program Unbelievable. (mp3 audio right here)

Is Calvinism Biblical? debate between TNARS president Dr. Larry Bray vs. Bob Enyart which is hosted at TheologyOnline.com, the official forum of OpenTheism.org.

 

The OpenTheism.org Blog

Chris Fisher from God is Open for OpenTheism.org...

On Biblical Translator Mentality

Quoted by Brian Abasciano. Originally from Douglas Stuart Old Testament Exegesis: A Primer for Students and Pastors (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 4th ed., 2009)

All the modern translations (and all the ancient ones for that matter) have been produced either by committees working against time deadlines or by individuals who cannot possibly know the whole Bible so well in the original that they produce flawless renderings at every point. Moreover, in the modern business of Bible publishing, the more “different” a translation is, the more risk there is that it will not sell. Thus there is a pressure on translators, committees, publisher’s, and others responsible to keep renderings conservative in meaning, even though, happily, usually up-to-date in idiomatic language. Finally, most people hate to go out on a limb with a translation in print. Many translation problems are matters of ambiguity: there is more than one way to construe the original. But space limitations do not permit translators to offer an explanation every time they might wish to render something from the original in a truly new way. So they almost always err on the side of caution. As a result, all modern translations tend, albeit with perfectly good intentions, to be overly “safe” and traditional. In the working of a translation committee, the lone genius is usually outvoted by the cautious majority.

Therefore, every so often you might actually produce a better translation than others have done, because you can invest much more time exegeting your passage than the individuals or committees were able to afford because of the speed at which they were required to work.


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Free Monday – Yale Lecture Courses Introduction to the Old Testament

Yale University is hosting a free course: Introduction to the Old Testament. An excerpt from a lecture 3:

So, one of the things I’ve tried to claim in describing Genesis 1 is that in this story evil is represented not as a physical reality. It’s not built into the structure of the world. When God rests he’s looking at the whole thing, [and] it’s very good, it’s set up very well. And yet we know that evil is a condition of human existence. It’s a reality of life, so how do we account for it? And the Garden of Eden story, I think, seeks to answer that question. It actually does a whole bunch of things, but one thing it does, I think, is try to answer that question, and to assert that evil stems from human behavior. God created a good world, but humans in the exercise of their moral autonomy, they have the power to corrupt the good. So, the Garden of Eden story communicates what Kaufman would identify as a basic idea of the monotheistic worldview: that evil isn’t a metaphysical reality, it’s a moral reality. What that means ultimately is that evil lacks inevitability, depending on your theory of human nature, I suppose, and it also means that evil lies within the realm of human responsibility and control.

It is true — and maybe this will go a little bit of the distance towards answering it — it’s by eating of the fruit in defiance of God, human beings learn that they were able to do that, that they are free moral agents. They find that out. They’re able to choose their actions in conformity with God’s will or in defiance of God’s will. So paradoxically, they learn that they have moral autonomy. Remember, they were made in the image of God and they learn that they have moral autonomy by making the defiant choice, the choice for disobedience. The argument could be made that until they once disobeyed, how would they ever know that? And then you might raise all sorts of questions about, well, was this part of God’s plan that they ought to know this and should know this, so that their choice for good actually becomes meaningful. Is it meaningful to choose to do the good when you have no choice to do otherwise or aren’t aware that you have a choice to do otherwise? So, there’s a wonderful thirteenth-century commentator that says that God needed creatures who could choose to obey him, and therefore it was important for Adam and Eve to do what they did and to learn that they had the choice not to obey God so that their choice for God would become endowed with meaning. That’s one line of interpretation that’s gone through many theological systems for hundreds of years.

So the very action that brought them a godlike awareness of their moral autonomy was an action that was taken in opposition to God. So we see then that having knowledge of good and evil is no guarantee that one will choose or incline towards the good. That’s what the serpent omitted in his speech. He said if you eat of that fruit, of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you’ll become like God. It’s true in one sense but it’s false in another. He sort of omitted to point out… he implies that it’s the power of moral choice alone that is godlike. But the biblical writer will claim in many places that true godliness isn’t simply power, the power to do what one wishes. True godliness means imitation of God, the exercise of one’s power in a manner that is godlike, good, life-affirming and so on. So, it’s the biblical writer’s contention that the god of Israel is not only all-powerful but is essentially and necessarily good. Those two elements cannot become disjoined, they must always be conjoined in the biblical writer’s view. And finally, humans will learn that the concomitant of their freedom is responsibility. Their first act of defiance is punished harshly. So they learn in this story that the moral choices and actions of humans have consequences that have to be borne by the perpetrator.


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