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Beyond the Bounds: Open Theism and the Undermining of Biblical Christianity [Kindle Edition]

John Piper , Justin Taylor , Paul Kjoss Helseth , Wayne Grudem , Mark Talbot , William C. Davis , Bruce A. Ware , Ardel Caneday , Michael Horton , Stephen J. Wellum , Chad Owen Brand , Russell Fuller
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Book Description

"Everyone who believes in God at all believes that He knows what you and I are going to do tomorrow."
–C. S. Lewis

This understanding of God's foreknowledge has united the church for twenty centuries. But advocates of "open theism" are presenting a different vision of God and a different view of the future.

The rise of open theism within evangelicalism has raised a host of questions. Was classical theism decisively tainted by Greek philosophy? How should we understand passages that tell us that God repents? Are essentials of biblical Christianity–like the inerrancy of Scripture, the trustworthiness of God, and the Gospel of Christ–at stake in this debate? Where, when, and why should we draw new boundaries–and is open theism beyond them? Beyond the Bounds brings together a respected team of scholars to examine the latest literature, address these questions, and give guidance to the church in this time of controversy.

Contributors include:

  • John Piper
  • Wayne Grudem
  • Michael S. Horton
  • Bruce A. Ware
  • Mark R. Talbot
  • A. B. Caneday
  • Stephen J. Wellum
  • Justin Taylor
  • Paul Kjoss Helseth
  • Chad Brand
  • William C. Davis
  • Russell Fuller

"We have prepared this book to address the issue of boundaries and, we pray, bring some remedy to the present and impending pain of embracing open theism as a legitimate Christian vision of God. . . . As a pastor, who longs to be biblical and God-centered and Christ-exalting and eternally helpful to my people, I see open theism as theologically ruinous, dishonoring to God, belittling to Christ, and pastorally hurtful. My prayer is that Christian leaders will come to see it this way, and thus love the church by counting open theism beyond the bounds of orthodox Christian teaching."
–From the Foreword by John Piper



Editorial Reviews

Review

"We have prepared this book to address the issue of boundaries and, we pray, bring some remedy to the present and impending pain of embracing open theism as a legitimate Christian vision of God. . . . As a pastor, who longs to be biblical and God-centered and Christ-exalting and eternally helpful to my people, I see open theism as theologically ruinous, dishonoring to God, belittling to Christ, and pastorally hurtful. My prayer is that Christian leaders will come to see it this way, and thus love the church by counting open theism beyond the bounds of orthodox Christian teaching." --From the Foreword by John Piper "The downsized deity of open theism is a poor substitute for the real God of historic Christianity-as taught by Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox theologians through the centuries. This book offers an important analysis and critique of this sub-Christian view of God. Well researched and fairly presented." --Dr. Timothy George Dean of Beeson Divinity School, Samford University and an executive editor of Christianity Today "Here is a weighty tract for the times, in which a dozen Reformed scholars survey the "open theism" of Pinnock, Sanders, Boyd, and colleagues, and find it a confused, confusing, and unedifying hypothesis that ought to be declared off limits. Some pages are heavy sledding, but the arguing is clear and strong, and the book is essential reading for all who are caught up in this discussion." --Dr. J. I. Packer Professor of Theology Regent College

Review

"The downsized deity of open theism is a poor substitute for the real God of historic Christianity-as taught by Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox theologians through the centuries. This book offers an important analysis and critique of this sub-Christian view of God. Well researched and fairly presented."
Timothy George, Founding Dean, Beeson Divinity School; General Editor, Reformation Commentary on Scripture

"Here is a weighty tract for the times, in which a dozen Reformed scholars survey the "open theism" of Pinnock, Sanders, Boyd, and colleagues, and find it a confused, confusing, and unedifying hypothesis that ought to be declared off limits. Some pages are heavy sledding, but the arguing is clear and strong, and the book is essential reading for all who are caught up in this discussion."
J. I. Packer, Board of Governors' Professor of Theology, Regent College


Product Details

  • File Size: 1563 KB
  • Print Length: 420 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1581344627
  • Publisher: Crossway Books (January 30, 2003)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00294YEJ8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #836,865 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
64 of 82 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
As of the time of this review, this book is hot off the press and has been a book eagerly anticipated by many. And while the book is not perfect, as I will discuss below, there are a number of things about this critique that make it the best critique of open theism available at present.
Piper and company have assembled an impressive group of mainly Reformed scholars to tackle numerous issues regarding open theism. Almost every chapter is well documented, with numerous and lengthy footnotes accompanying much of the base material. There is a great deal here to ponder and study, and I suspect that many readers who are relatively familiar with the open theism controversy will be struck by the depth in which this book engages fundamental questions of hermeneutics and theological method.
I think there is little doubt that for the average reader, Parts 4 and 5 will be the best parts of the book. In these parts, various authors tackle critical theological and pastoral problems that open theism creates, and these are the kinds of issues that the average reader will most identify with and profit from I suspect. In particular, Wellum's critique of open theism's necessary compromise of the inerrancy of Scripture is outstanding, along with Ware's devastating analysis of how the gospel of Christ is gutted by open theism. The tackling of these critical theological ramifications is the part of this book that I felt was critically missing from Ware's 'God's Lesser Glory' book (which has been generally acknowledged to be the most devastating critique of open theism thus far, and was the book that really delivered the first mortal blow to open theism and got Boyd and company to play defense ever since), so in that respect, this book is an outstanding companion to that book.
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Format:Paperback
This 2003 book collects eleven essays critiquing various different aspects of Open Theism; contributors include Bruce Ware (God's Lesser Glory: The Diminished God of Open Theism), Wayne Grudem, John Piper, etc.

John Piper wrote in his Foreword, "It remains one of the most stunning things in evangelicalism today that so many leaders can treat as optional what C.S. Lewis... called 'mere Christianity'... We have prepared this book to address the issue of boundaries and, we pray, bring some remedy to the present and impending pain of embracing open theism as a legitimate Christian vision of God."

One essayist suggests that nothing takes God by surprise because "he has ordered---or 'ordained'---every event from before creation." (Pg. 79) He then proposes "compatibilism": "that someone's choice to stop and aid a sick homeless woman is free and morally significant as long as it is voluntary and thus neither physically forced not psychologically coerced." (Pg. 82)

Another essayist deplores the fact that Christianity Today magazine treats Open Theism "as an evangelical option," offering both editorials that praise its proponents and links to the official open theism website. (Pg. 111) He admits, however, that Open Theism offers "serious exegetical studies that labor to take the words of Scripture seriously." (Pg. 116)

An essayist asks pointedly, if one denies that God is able to know future contingencies, then "how does one explain how God can KNOW that these prophecies will truly come to pass?... then how would one also affirm that Scripture is an infallible and inerrant revelation on all areas that it touches, including the prophetic realm?" (Pg. 267)

This collection is a broad and detailed examination of Open Theism, and is a very significant contribution to the ongoing debate.
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Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book provides the tools and apologetics need to defend the historic orthodox position of the sovereignty of God. The book is the work of several theologians who attack Open Theism from different angles. While the book is somewhat academic, it is still an easy read. Since the book is written by differnt men the transition from one author to another author keeps the book fresh and alive.

I was personlly famaliar with the defense that the author's used for the traditional historic view of God's foreknowldege, but what the book did for me was systematize these truths and make them accessible for future use. It was up-lifting to have confirmed to me that God's knowldege of the future is perfect and complet, and not as the O.T. contend that God can be surpised about the future.
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29 of 47 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Undermining something, but what??? March 16, 2008
Format:Paperback
Ya know, I can't get past the title of this book. Piper calling his side of the issue "Biblical" in his title is really begging the question. It would seem that Piper would enter into the discussion, but with a title like this he seems to be disallowing the discussion, condemning the discussion. Isn't the BIG question that people are trying to discuss..."What does the Bible say on this aspect of God's nature?" (Not to mention what the Bible says about the nature of time) "Which view IS the Biblical view of God?" Thank goodness some, like Boyd, are finally shedding some light on the neo-platonism which has been embraced by the church since Augustine brought it into the church. It pretty much became the biggest blunder of a "pagan sacred cow becoming the accepted teaching of the church" imaginable. If anything is unbiblical it is the "traditional" view of the neo-platonist god we have had shoved down our throats in the name of sound teaching. I hope people will read the open theists for themselves and not just run out for some wool to pull back over their eyes. Listen to what Boyd and some of the guys say regarding what scripture really says to see if the reformed teaching on God is after all Biblical. You will not in the end, I think, agree fully with either side...but please, can we at least quit acting like the "traditional view" is right simply because it has been a majority view since Augustine. Maybe indeed the views of Calvin and Augustine will be undermined by some of the views of open theism, but the Bible squares amazingly well with some of the points Boyd is trying to raise. Can we investigate the issue without all the arrogance and posturing from the "old guard"? I cannot agree with all the open theists say. I don't agree with all that Piper believes either. Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
thanks
Published 27 days ago by Pastor W.
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb!
Reading a collection of essays by a group of top-notch Reformed scholars is a never-failing treat and this book is no exception. Read more
Published 13 months ago by MechPebbles
4.0 out of 5 stars Opentheism: More Dangerous Than You Might Think
A collection of articles put together in this book presents a multi-dimensional challenge against opentheism and a rigorous defense against the foundations of Christianity it... Read more
Published on March 27, 2008 by A. Sutono, a.k.a., Birdey The Observer
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Look At The Open Theism Debate
This is a great book for those of you who have questions about Open Theism. Piper, Taylor and Helseth have done a wonderful job taking a look at this issue from an evangelical... Read more
Published on February 25, 2007 by Brian Schulenburg
2.0 out of 5 stars When is a circle not a circle?
John Calvin blazed the trail for most reformed reviewers: if you disagree with what is said, kill the 'sayer'. Read more
Published on January 21, 2006 by E. spurlock
5.0 out of 5 stars Open Theism Massively Dependent on Hartshornism
Mr. John Litzinger needs to please understand something about Open Theorism's use of terminology, with all due Christian respect. Read more
Published on March 20, 2005 by John Lancaster
5.0 out of 5 stars Enlightening!
Piper is one of the best teachers around and he certainly did not fail in this book. Botht this book and Bruce Ware's book helped me better understand open theism, a very false... Read more
Published on January 18, 2005 by Tom Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars Shocking
When I was a freshman in high school I moved to Houston. I was still, very much, in the infant stages of my faith and was very eager to attend whatever Bible studies were available... Read more
Published on August 17, 2004 by Jared M. Thomasson
5.0 out of 5 stars Expose of Aberrant Christians' Non-evangelical Philosophy
Powerful,respectful dismantling of nebulous Open Theory of Bible interpretation and aberrant Non-evangelical philosophy. Read more
Published on February 20, 2003 by Brentley
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