Okay, so here’s the rub. I have read at least twenty books on Open Theism, at least half of which were written by Calvinist’s, and the rest by Open Theists. I hold the term/label “Open Theism” at arm’s length because on the one hand I see a solid argument in favour of Open Theism established on the bedrock of scripture, while on the other hand I struggle over certain (albeit rare) interpreted passages and philosophical assumptions (my own).
Still, perhaps because I am so well informed on the subject (by contrast to the engagement I’ve experienced on-line via facebook and blogs and sadly even by what I’ve read in many books written by “professionals”), I get frustrated over what usually amounts – at minimum – to simple ignorance or – at most – pure unadulterated slander. Such slanderous myths include:
- Open Theism/theist is nothing but recycled Arminianism.
- Open Theism/theist denies God’s sovereignty.
- Open Theism/theist reject the atonement.
- Open Theism/theist is akin to socinianism.
- Open Theism/theist denies God’s omniscience.
- et cetera, et cetera, et cetera…
Can you image the frustration the early church must have endured when they were accused by the wider public of cannibalism? They gathered together once a week to “eat the flesh and drink the blood” of some guy. Rumors flew and spiraled out of control and before long, everyone believed that Christians were cannibals. This must be the same frustration felt by those who hold to Open Theism; having to endure constant slander and misrepresentation. But there is a difference in the example given: in the early churches communion service, the Eucharist was practiced in private, and only baptized Christians were permitted to even be present. So naturally rumors spread out of ignorance because the outside world had no outlet to inform them as to what was really being practiced. By wide contrast, books by Open Theist are widely available and so those who slander out of ignorance are without excuse. And those who misrepresent but who do know what Open Theist believe, they will be held to great account.
Roger Olson has taken this slander (and those who do the slandering – without naming names) to task. Read his post here!
(P.S. Olson is a firm classical Arminian who rejects Open Theism, but defends its evangelical validity. I add this note for those who have uncritically accepted the myth that Open Theism as simply recycled Arminianism.)