An introduction to open theism

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John Sanders

Abstract

When I was a young Christian I was taught that our prayers of petition could influence what God decided to do. Not that God has to do what we ask, but that God graciously decides to take our concerns into account in formulating his responses (just as he did with Moses and others). However, in college I was assigned some standard evangelical theology books that described the nature of God as “impassible” (could not be affected by creatures in any way) and “strongly immutable” (could not change in any respect). My spiritual life was thrown into a quandary: either I had been incorrectly taught that my prayers could affect God or the theology books were wrong on these points. The search for a theology of prayer led me into other areas of providence and, ultimately, to the openness of God perspective.

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Keywords
Open theism; God -- Attributes; God -- Biblical teaching; God -- Foreknowledge; God -- Immutability; God -- Omniscience; God -- Providence; God -- Sovereignty; Free will and determinism; Evangelicalism -- Controversial literature; Church controversies; Theology, Doctrinal; Reformed Church -- Theology
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