It is difficult to overstate the influence Clark Pinnock has had on me and many others. I knew my chances of taking a class at McMaster in Hamilton Ontario (only three hours from where I live) under his tutelage were unlikely, but I hoped.
Clark is like the forefather of Post-conservative theology. The head runner to forward thinking, always accompanied by the humility required to admit a wayward path if only to somehow attain the truth. You might say he plowed the way for many of us to follow. He writes:
Not only am I often not listened to, I am also made to feel stranded theologically: being too much of a free thinker to be accepted by the evangelical establishment and too much of a conservative to be accepted by the liberal mainline.
I feel the same way. I want to cry out, “That’s me! That’s me too!” A quote I endeavor to model my faith after comes from Clement of Alexandria:
If our faith is such that it is destroyed by force of argument, then let it be destroyed for it would be proved that we do not possess the truth.
If Clement laid out the philosophy, Clark lived out the philosophy as a model to follow. From liberal Baptist to conservative Evangelical. From biblical inerrantist to biblical infallibilism. From exclusivist to inclusionist. From an orthodox theology of hell to a heterodox theology of anniliationism. From staunch cessationist to charismatic renewalist. From established Calvinist to forerunner and defender of Open Theism (or neo-Arminianism).
No one is going to follow all of Clark’s theological shifts. No one should. But I wish more Christians followed Clark’s openness, willingness and embrace of free-thinking and his post-conservative approach to life and theology.
Clark Pinnock passed away August 15th, 2010 from a heart attack. (ct. reports it here.) More on Clark Pinnock and how his theology has influenced me personally to come.