Tuesday, December 28, 2004

The Ouster of Open Theist, John Sanders

A year after narrowly escaping expulsion (along with Clark Pinnock) from the Evangelical Theological Society over his views on Open Theism, John Sanders, author of The God Who Risks, is now himself at risk of losing his teaching position at Huntington College in Indiana (see link).

Although both Pinnock and Sanders were exonerated by ETS (erroneously, in my opinion), it appears Sanders may be getting the boot from a college that is actually quite "open" to open theism, boasting that many of its faculty adhere to that teaching. That should be cause for ETS to rethink its decision on this. The error that ETS made was that they "tried the case" as an issue regarding Biblical Inerrancy rather than as an issue regarding the Doctrine of God. That gave both Pinnock and Sanders an opportunity to rewrite certain statements they had made in published works so as not to upset the sensibilities of proponents of Inerrancy. For Pinnock's part, he had suggested that God's inability to know the future resulted in errors in the fulfillment of prophecy. Charges were then brought by some ETS members that Pinnock's views negatively impacted the ETS position on Inerrancy. Similar charges were brought against Sanders.

What the members of ETS should have focused on instead was Pinnock and Sander's view of God's omniscience and sovereignty. If they had instead tried the case on that basis, there would have been no room for meaningless "adjustments" on their positions, and the ETS (one would hope) would have done the right thing and dismissed both Pinnock and Sanders, along with the 18.3% who decided that Pinnock and Sanders were right (see link).