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updated 9:42 PM CEST, Jun 30, 2018

What is open theism?

A doctrine that changed my life for the better.

Open theism is the doctrine that God can be perceived and experienced through space and time, since He exists in space and time and that He is open to and strive for a mutually loving relationship with groups and individuals. The future is not determined, but open and what happens around us is the result of fully or partially free will choices of divine and human beings. God reacts to His creation. It is also called relational theology.

Important pages and authors who are writing on the web are John Sanders, Gregory Boyd, Christopher Fisher and Thomas Jay Oord, among many others.

On this page open theism is examined thoroughly from different perspectives: what do the Bible and other sacred texts say? Is this belief in sync with natural and social sciences, with logic and philosophical analytics? What are the practical consequences?

There are a couple of important considerations I need to underline as an introduction to this doctrine:

  1. Open theism developed in the Reformed Christian tradition, but in its essence it is significantly different from classical theism in general, which is mostly represented in Christianity both by the Catholic and Reformed churches. Examples for this are the knowability and the attributes of God, predestination and providence, the original sin, election, grace and evangelism. Open theism also differs from process theology.
  2. Open theism is a rich theology, with a wide range of currents within its boundaries. Its representatives, to varying degrees on specific subjects, are closer or more distant to classical theistic ideas.
  3. Open theism is an affirmative theology, based on and fastened to the Scriptures, sciences and human logic. It does not define itself against other theologies. It claims that it is the closest description of what God revealed about Himself and His purposes in the world.
  4. Open theists understand that over the last 1500-2000 years open and relational theologies have been a minority. Open theism should not necessarily investigate why classical theism got divorced and distanced to some degree from the original Christian and Jewish principles and beliefs. Given the obvious disconnection, however, many open theists lined up to the challenge and come up with explanations, mostly around the influence of the dominant and powerful Hellenistic philosophies on the Christian thoughts in the first centuries AD, or (linked to that) the influence of Augustine, the Church Father and that of his peers on the Reformed theologies in the 16th century, still strongly present.
  5. Open theism, if Christian, professes most or all of the basic tenets of Christian faith as set in the Apostles’ Creed or in the Lord’s Prayer. Many theologians accept to different degrees the reformed confessions of faith.
  6. I have my special approach to and beliefs around open theism. I am mostly interested in A) its relationship with the social and natural sciences and philosophy, B) the idealistic and utopian views of classical theism about God’s attributes and some biblical words, like predestination and election, C) the practical consequences in terms of Christian life, evangelism and church leadership, D) the relationship with the Abrahamic religions and E) the historical development and survival of classical theism and its relation to human nature and sociology.
More in this category: Will He find faith on Earth? »

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