i am having another bout with my back. i am currently unable to sit for longer than a few minutes, and require the assistance of a cane to walk very far. however, i have received by way of phone calls and emails lots of encouragement to pursue the topics in my last post. as always, i welcome any form of communication and dialogue, but encourage them in teh form of comments on this blog.

since i am unable to sit very long, i will just cut and paste from tim challies, who has a reputable blog with a wealth of information. the following is taken from this post from 2005.
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Open theism is a relatively new doctrine that has only gained
popular prominence since 1994 with the release of the book
The Openness of God which was written by five evangelical
scholars and edited by Clark Pinnock. What began on the fringes
of scholarship has quickly gained a popular following, in part because
of the publication of entry-level titles such as Gregory Boyd’s
God of the Possible and in part because of the acceptance of the
doctrine by various popular authors.

While many evangelicals do not embrace this doctrine themselves,
they may regard it as an optional doctrine that remains within the
pale of orthodox evangelicalism. This article will define the doctrine,
describe its chief characteristics, introduce its proponents and explain
the challenge to the church.

A Definition
This is a definition I have adapted from Monergism.com.
“open theism is a sub-Christian theological construct which
claims that God’s highest goal is to enter into a reciprocal relationship
with man. In this scheme, the Bible is interpreted without any
anthropomorphisms – that is, all references to God’s feelings, surprise
and lack of knowledge are literal and the result of His choice to create a
world where He can be affected by man’s choices. God’s exhaustive
knowledge does not include future free will choices by mankind because
they have not yet occurred.”

One of the leading spokesmen of open theism, Clark Pinnock,
in describing how libertarian freedom trumps God’s omniscience
says, “Decisions not yet made do not exist anywhere to be known
even by God. They are potential—yet to be realized but not yet
actual. God can predict a great deal of what we will choose to do,
but not all of it, because some of it remains hidden in the mystery
of human freedom … The God of the Bible displays an openness
to the future (i.e. ignorance of the future) that the traditional view
of omniscience simply cannot accommodate.”
(Pinnock, “Augustine to Arminius, ” 25-26)

Defining Characteristics
Open theism is characterized in several ways:
God’s greatest attribute is love. God’s love
so overshadowsHis other characteristics that He
could never allow or condone
evil or suffering to befall mankind.

Man has libertarian free will. Man’s will has not been so effected
by the Fall that he is unable to make a choice to follow God. God
respects man’s freedom of choice and would not infringe upon it.

God does not have exhaustive knowledge of the future. Indeed,
He cannot know certain future events because the future exists
only as possibility. God is unable to see what depends on the choices
of free will agents simply because this future does not yet exist, so
it unknowable. In this way open theists attempt to reconcile this
doctrine with God’s ominiscience.

God takes risks. Because God cannot know the future,
He takes risks in many ways – creating people, giving
them gifts and abilities, and so on. Where possibilities
exist, so does risk.

God learns. Because God does not know the future
exhaustively, He learns, just as we do.

God is reactive. Because He is learning, God is constantly
reacting to the decisions we make.

God makes mistakes. Because He is learning and reacting,
always dealing with limited information, God can and does
make errors in judgment which later require re-evaluation.

God can change His mind. When God realizes He has made
an error in judgment or that things did not unfold as He supposed,
He can change His mind.

The most important thing to note is that God knows the future only
as it is not dependent on human, free-will decisions. God does not
know what any free-will agents (ie humans) will do, because those
decisions do not yet exist and God cannot know what does not exist.
God decided, in Creation, that He would limit Himself in this way in
order to give complete freedom to human beings. Therefore, God does
not know or control the future – He learns from our decisions and
constantly adapts as necessary. He often needs to change His mind
or re-evaluate His options as the future unfolds.

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i hope you have found tim’s summary helpful… and appalling.
next post we’ll pick up with some of the chief proponents of this view and what they say about it.. do you see any troubling implications if this doctrine is true? do you know of any biblical support for it?

but before we get there, i would love to get your initial reactions to this doctrine that is taught in pulpits and written about in books sold in your local christian churches and bookstores.

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