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Calvinism's response to open theism

Discussion in 'Semper Reformanda' started by Metal Minister, Aug 8, 2014.

  1. Metal Minister

    Metal Minister New Year, Still Old School!

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    I recently had a debate with a pair of open theists on another site. As a quick overview for those who aren't familiar with open theism, it basically boils down to a few points.
    1) Time is eternal and not a creation of God's
    2) God is stuck in time
    3) God does not have exhaustive foreknowledge
    4) Man has full libertarian free will and it can never be violated
    There are more but you get the idea. Anyway, in regards to the exhaustive foreknowledge point, these open theists pointed to

    1 Samuel 13:13-14: Samuel said to Saul, "You have acted foolishly;you have not kept the commandment of the Lordyour God, which He commanded you, for now the Lord would have established your kingdom[a]over Israel forever. But now your kingdom shall not endure. The Lord has sought out for Himself a man after His own heart, and the Lord has appointed him as ruler over His people, because you have not kept what theLord commanded you."

    Genesis 2:19 Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the [p]sky, andbrought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name.

    Genesis 22:12 He said, "Do not stretch out your hand against the lad, and do nothing to him; for nowI know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me."

    They use these verses to point to the idea that God did not know these things would happen, and therefore could not have exhaustive foreknowledge. There are of course others (mostly taken out of context and which I was easily able to show their meanings and how they did not reinforce open theism) but these ones actually gave me pause. Not that I believe in anyway that open theism is correct, but that I didn't have a suitable response. Any ideas? Any thoughts? I'm loathe to let me ignorance continue on this sort of thing...
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2014
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  2. Metal Minister

    Metal Minister New Year, Still Old School!

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    I'm kind of surprised no one has anything to say about this....
     
  3. nobdysfool

    nobdysfool The original! Accept no substitutes!

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    Patience....the traffic here isn't as thick as it is in other parts of the forum...
     
  4. stenerson

    stenerson Newbie

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    There was a recent debate between James White and Bob Enyart. I haven't heard it yet but plan to.
     
  5. Metal Minister

    Metal Minister New Year, Still Old School!

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    I have, White obliterated Enyart. Enyart threw a temper tantrum on stage and tried to make the debate into some version of his radio show. (He was playing clips of White, out of context, trying to play gotcha.) I believe Dr. White is going to have the actual debate up soon. Enyart released an edited version on YouTube and then waited nearly a month before sending the raw footage to Dr. White.
     
  6. twin1954

    twin1954 Baptist by the Bible

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    A god who learns must change and that means it isn't God. For a god who changes cannot be trusted, his promises mean nothing and he is no more than a very powerful man. Kinda like the figments of the imagination of the Romans and Greeks.

    As for the passages they must be understood in the knowledge of the teaching of the Scriptures as a whole and the God revealed in them. God is beyond our understanding but has accommodated our finite minds by speaking in such a way as to appear to us in a manner that we can both understand and relate to.

    The passages are nothing but proof-texts brought out to prove a pretext.
    None of the passages are about whether God learned something but about us learning something.

    The 1Sam. passage is about Saul not doing what he should have done. The people wanted a king and God gave them the king that they would approve of, a man who was head and shoulders taller than they were. The people got what they asked for and God gave him conditional promises. When he didn't keep up his end God set the king He had ordained, both as a type of Christ and one who was a man after God's own heart. The point being that God didn't learn something by Saul but actually taught the people that their way is always wrong. He not only knew what Saul would do but ordained that he should and brought it to pass exactly as He had purposed.

    The Gen. 2 passage again isn't about God learning but about showing that God didn't create Adam as a simpleton. God created Adam with a great mind and gave him the right to rule all of His creation in wisdom. God didn't learn what Adam named the animals but decreed that whatever Adam called them was their name.

    The Gen. 22 passage is not about God learning but about Abraham proving his faith for us to learn from. God brought that event to pass for our learning not His own.

    For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
    (Rom 15:4)


    Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.
    (1Co 10:11)
     
  7. stenerson

    stenerson Newbie

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    I heard a few excerpts. Now that is truly "will - worship." These people hold the free will of man as so sacred that not even God can interfere, or even know how they will react. He said God is not omniscient, but instead omni-competent. He's ready for any contingency with plan A..B..C..ETC.
     
  8. VCViking

    VCViking Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel...

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    Love listening to James White. The portion I saw was great.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2014
  9. Metal Minister

    Metal Minister New Year, Still Old School!

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    The part that absolutely flabbergasted me was Enyart's claim that Jesus could've refused to go to the cross, and chosen to sin! He's willing to destroy the God head to protect his true god, libertarian free will!
     
  10. Metal Minister

    Metal Minister New Year, Still Old School!

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  11. HammerOfHeaven

    HammerOfHeaven Newbie

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    I've been debating an Open Theist on another forum myself, and at first I thought I had wandered into The Twilight Zone. It took me awhile to piece together what these people believe, and I'm sure there are more screwball ideas of theirs I haven't discovered yet, but I wanted to share what I've learned so far.

    These people believe that God exists only inside of time, and always has and always will exist inside of time, and He does not know the future and cannot know the future because the future does not yet exist. (How they get around the Kalam Cosmological Argument is not yet clear.) God does not know any particular human being will be conceived until that person is conceived. That is why God cannot even look down the corridor of time a la Arminianism and know who will be in Heaven and who will not.

    God is not omniscient, omnipotent or omnipresent, nor immutable nor impassable ("the omni's and im's" in their lingo), but He IS "omni-competent" whatever that means. He can "read DNA", but I don't know the extent of His ability to read minds. Predictive prophecies always refer to local political events that were going to occur shortly through human agency anyway, and the outcome of the events were reasonably foreseen given God's ability to read DNA. After giving a prophecy God is able to control local events enough to make the prophecy come true through brute force and superior intellect, but He does not know the end from the beginning. There is not a single verse in Scripture that says God knows the end from the beginning.

    God knew that disobedience was a possibility when He created men and angels, but He didn't know for sure it would occur until it actually occurred. He created the Cross "as a contingency plan" (Bob Enyart's very words, I'm not making this up!). Judas could have repented and refused to betray his master, and there would have been rejoicing in Heaven in the presence of the angels. God the Father would have found someone else to betray Jesus, because there were plenty of other people in Israel who would have been glad to betray Him. The verse about "the one who ate my bread has raised his heel against me" (Psalm 41:9) has nothing to do with Judas. Judas hadn't even been born when that verse was written and God couldn't have known about Judas before he was born, so it can't be referring to Judas.

    They do not understand the hypostatic union, and if they did understand they would not agree. They believe the Second Person of the Trinity underwent a change in His being at the time of the incarnation of Jesus of Nazareth, so He is therefore not immutable. He went from being "the Son of God' to being "the Son of Man", as though "Son of Man" is a reference to His humanity(!).

    They believe impassability means unable to experience emotion, and since they see descriptions in Scripture of God experiencing emotion they reject impassability.

    When Scripture says God learned something or repented and changed His mind, they believe He actually learned new information and changed His mind. And God CAN lie, but He chooses not to. And Jesus COULD HAVE SINNED but He chose not to.

    They interpret Calvinism to mean that, since the world was decreed to be just as it is for all of time, and since God exists only in time, then God could never have determined the world to be other than it is, so He is robbed of libertarian free will and therefore His actions are just as pre-determined and deterministic under Calvinism as humans supposedly are under Calvinism.

    They charge Calvinism with being the single greatest reason why so little evangelism has ever taken place (as though we strong-armed everyone else into not evangelizing, the same way we completely refuse to evangelize ourselves). They've heard of Dr. D. James Kennedy's Evangelism Explosion but that's a fluke. So are all the people coming to faith through the ministry of John MacArthur. It's a good thing people are coming to faith, but it's a shame they're buying into the false doctrine of Calvinism, and their success is the exception that proves the rule, the rule that says Calvinists don't evangelize.

    Oh, and to them "Calvinism" is synonymous with the Canons of Dordt, there is no broader or deeper Reformed theology beyond "the 5 points". And Reformed theology is by definition "Replacement Theology", despite all assertions to the contrary.

    Calvin got all his theology from Augustine, who got all his theology from Plato. None of Calvin's theology comes from the Bible. All the omni's and im's are simply Greek philosophy dressed up in Christian garb. Calvin's God is a Greek stone idol. And Calvin's God is "despicable". They actually use the word "despicable" to describe the God of the Bible as described by Calvin.

    A good example of how they present and defend their views in an actual give-and-take is a recent debate between Bob Enyart (of Real Science Radio) and Dr. James White. The less-redacted audio can be found on You Tube and is easier to listen to than to watch, although "easier" is a relative term. It's still pretty hard to sit through all 20 minutes of Bob's opening statement. I had to stop it every few minutes and take a break to calm down before I continued.

    Hope this helps give everyone a little heads-up in case you run into one of these people. Apparently this theology is growing in the Evangelical world, which only shows how low the standards of Evangelical Christianity have sunk.

    Is it any wonder the Lord said, "... but the Son of Man having come, shall he find the faith upon the earth?' " (Luke 18:8, Young's Literal Translation).
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2014
  12. moonbeam

    moonbeam Senior Member Supporter

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    You will not find any adherents to open theism in a Calvinist/Reformed forum.

    Perhaps the General Theology forum ?

    But….. if you really want to lock horns with open theists and wrestle the beast to the ground…then the place to go is Theology Online…there they await your coming with glee, salivating in anticipation, with double edged blades in each hand.


    Here is a link to a brief discussion on the temporality of God…I was hoping to find another thread which I was familiar with, but stumbled onto this one instead…a poster from this forum, AMR, engages with the contrary view.

    One on One: AMR and JCWR on the Temporality of God - Theology Online | Christian Forums & More
     
  13. AMR

    AMR Presbyterian (PCA) - Bona Fide Reformed

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    A few years before James White's recent debate with open theist Bob Enyart I debated him. Below is my response to unsettled theism (open theism):

    http://www.askmrreligion.com/AMR_vs._Enyart_Open_Theism_Questions.pdf

    You may also want to read the PDF book available for download here:

    Beyond the Bounds | Desiring God

    Open theism is an abomination and the result of man's error of forming intellectual views of God and then going off and worshiping an idol.
     
  14. Metal Minister

    Metal Minister New Year, Still Old School!

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    AMR, just finished reading your response to Enyart, and it was fantastic! I don't think there was anything in it I disagree with! Did Enyart respond to this? Any other OT's?
     
  15. Metal Minister

    Metal Minister New Year, Still Old School!

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    Dr. White has released the unedited debate here: Is the Future Settled or Open? James White vs Bob...: http://youtu.be/fxOOcJxEEYU
     
  16. AMR

    AMR Presbyterian (PCA) - Bona Fide Reformed

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    Kind words, thank you.

    In the doc is a link to the peanut gallery discussion while the debate was happening wherein you can review comments from other unsettled theists. That said, Enyart made no responses to me afterwards. He contents himself to just making the usual anti-Calvinistic comments to others he made in the Lamerson and White debates in the forum noted in the document. That place is his safe haven where few can take him one directly without being summarily banned.

    Since posting links to other discussion sites is forbidden, I will PM you a link to another debate I had with the site admin, a member of Enyart's church, at the same site wherein the Enyart debate took place.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2014
  17. Metal Minister

    Metal Minister New Year, Still Old School!

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    Yes, I've run into very similar situations with other open theists I've debated. In fact, I just saw one outright admit that they dismiss out of hand anything a Calvinist says (including well educated, well respected theologians) because "it's so wrong." I think you need to have a mindset set where you've all but turned off your reasoning skills to believe open theism. It's very much become cult-like...
     
  18. AMR

    AMR Presbyterian (PCA) - Bona Fide Reformed

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    Indeed. One need only review Enyart's comments in the debate with White to see this closed mindedness of the unsettled theist.

    We should not find this surprising as unsettled theism (open theism) is the polar opposite of Calvinistic views. They have recast the meaning of soverignty to something diluted to mean God cannot even know the future, making God today smarter than he was yesterday or in the day of Moses. All in the rationale elevating God's attribute of love above all other attributes such that he would not do anything to thwart the libertarian free will they hold so dear. Open theism is basically Arminianism on steroids, including the associated anti-Calvinism steroidal rages. Sigh.
     
  19. tulipbee

    tulipbee Worker of the Hive

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    I liked the saying, "Time was created to keep everything from happening at once". If man removes everything happening, then it all goes back to God. If God is going to create time, He has to know what to make time with. When God makes a slice of time, man responds afterward. So that means God first, man second. This makes 5 points of Calvinism ring true. Open theistism is a waste of my time.
     
  20. Metal Minister

    Metal Minister New Year, Still Old School!

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    At least with armininians, I know they're truly Christian. I cannot say that about open theists. Some of their more hard core members make me feel like I'm talking to a brick wall, or worse and pull string doll. No matter how often something is refuted or answered, they seem to simply go back to it over and over again, ad nauseum, ad infinitum....
     
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