Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Open Theism and Romans 9 (1)

Romans 9 for me is becoming increasingly important. I have spent some serious time these last 6-10 months trying to get to the bottom of it working with all the dominant interpretations. I feel stronger about my beliefs on elective grace, even though I think Calvin himself botches Rom.9 by going overboard on that; and I feel stronger against classic Arminian arguments as they seem to undermine the integrity of the passage.

Arminian brothers unfortunately seem to take Rom.9 to pieces, re-interpret all those pieces making them at least incompatible with each other and at most diss-jointed with the epistle to the Romans. When one does take Rom.9 as a whole, he/she either overplays the collective language, or underplays the salvific language...both set Rom.9 out of kilter with the epistles flow.

However, if one sees the exegetical hoops Arminians jump through (with all due respect, I have many friends who hold the view); it is nothing compared to an Open Theist position. Rom.9 gives the reader an unquestioning look at God's characteristics as are reflected in creation, redemption, and salvation history. It shows God's sovereignty, his wrath, his power, his hardening, his justice, his utter mercy, and above all is glory as shown through his mercy. Rom.9 gives a taste of how God's characteristics dynamically interact, even in extremes such as wrath and mercy, and Rom.9 uphold completely God's sovereignty and man's responsibility. This is a passage Open Theists need to spend serious time on in order to convince their readers of their theology. - However. - They don't.

For my dissertation I have read two dominant books by C. Pinnock (Most moved mover, and the openness of God), one by G. Boyd (God of the possible), and one by Sanders (The God who risks), several journal articles, and spoke to several advocators of the theology. Not one of the books gives an exegesis or interpretation of Rom.9 in defence of their view! Not one. No-one even mentions in my reading, vv.22-23. Surely this is a highly accountable and answerable passage? Why do Open Theists seem not to believe so? In taking to Open Theist friends about Rom.9, the way they have tackled it is by slipping back into Arminian arguments which when pushed are found to be incompatible with their Open Theist convictions.

I know this post turned into a bit of a rant, and I apologise for any offence caused. What I hope it does is encourage those who know of literature to bring it to my attention, and to provoke a detailed defence of Open Theism with Rom.9 from its advocators. I continue to find Open Theism dangerous for Christians, and feel stronger still for the immensity of God in all things as he reveals himself lovingly to be in Rom.9. Praise God.

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