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Most Moved Mover: A Theology of God's Openness (Didsbury Lectures) Paperback – October 1, 2001

2.8 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

One of the hottest topics among Christian intellectuals in the last few years has been "open theology" essentially, the theory that God has not irrevocably fixed the future. Evangelical theologian Clark Pinnock got the conversation started in 1994 with The Openness of God, which proposed that God responds to humanity's actions in an open, relational way. Pinnock fires another shot in the debate with Most Moved Mover: A Theology of God's Openness, which fleshes out the open view of God, traces it back to the Bible and the early church, and just as importantly responds to critics. Open theology, Pinnock explains, "asks us to imagine a response-able and self-sacrificing God of changeable faithfulness and vulnerable power." This is a well-reasoned and passionate defense. Your move, traditionalists.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From the Back Cover

In 1994, Clark Pinnock along with four other scholars published The Openness of God, which set out a new evangelical vision of God-one centered on his open, relational, and responsive love for creation. Since then, the nature of God has been widely discussed throughout the evangelical community. Now, Pinnock returns with Most Moved Mover to once again counter the classical, deterministic view of God, and defend the relationality and openness of God.

This engaging defense of openness theology begins with an analysis of the current debate, followed by an explanation of the misconceptions about openness theology, and a delineation of areas of agreement between classical and openness theologians.

Most Moved Mover is for all evangelicals, regardless of their viewpoint, as it lays out the groundwork for future discussions of the open view of God.

"The church and her mission cannot be more dynamic than her doctrine of God. Here is a theology for church renewal, a compelling call for an amicable conversation among evangelicals about the truly transcendent God who is said to choose significant involvement in the life of creation. Clark Pinnock offers the conversation a fresh divine-involvement focus, rejecting the concern of some that this path is theologically dangerous. To the contrary, it may be the best way to honor biblical revelation and highlight God's relational nature and creative love. These pages represent Pinnock's matured thought on relational theism. Let the conversation proceed!"
-Barry L. Callen, Anderson University

Clark H. Pinnock
(Ph.D., University of Manchester) is professor of Christian interpretation at McMaster Divinity College, Hamilton, Ontario, where he has taught since 1977. One of the most creative evangelical theologians of our day, he has authored, edited, or coauthored fifteen books, including More than One Way and Flame of Love.

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Product Details

  • Series: Didsbury Lectures
  • Paperback: 218 pages
  • Publisher: Baker Academic; First Edition edition (October 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801022908
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801022906
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #501,820 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I was not expecting to like this book.

I read it in the context of a class that was meant to be critical, from a Calvinistic perspective, of Arminianism in its Reformed, Wesleyan, and Open Theist forms. I myself had, until recently, been a typical "angry young man" that you so often find in Reformed schools. But at that time I had begun to re-evaluate my theology. In any case, my preconceived ideas about Clark Pinnock could have been put simply: he was a heretic. Even before he had become an Open Theist, I was under the impression that he was a heretic, not only because he had a weak view of Scripture, but because he had embraced Arminian theology after having been an avowed Calvinist. In all honesty, I read his book rather reluctantly. I had no idea what Open Theism was, and, in all honesty, I had never really examined the arguments for Arminianism from an Arminian perspective. I was only expecting to find "fuel for the fire", you might say, with which to burn an effigy of Pinnock in a critical essay.

But then something unexpected happened. As other reviewers have noted, Most Moved Mover is about God's love and about his relationality. As a Calvinist, I believed in God's love for the elect in the abstract, but was not entirely convinced of his love for any individual I met, even for myself, because I thought it was impossible to know who was truly elect. God loved some people, and hated most, having created them to be tortured for eternity to the praise of his glory. And I understood God's relationality to the world in terms of decrees and legally binding covenants - in other words, my understanding of God was that he was mighty and sovereign, and somewhat distant.

Pinnock's arguments blew that conception out of the water.
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Clark Pinnock offers this monograph as a full-scale explication and defense of the Open view of God. Pinnock and others publicly presented the view in a 1994 book titled, The Openness of God. For those unfamiliar with the basic outlines of this theological alternative, Pinnock provides ample definition and characterization of it in Most Moved Mover.

Openness theology envisions God as a self-sufficient, though relational, Trinitarian being who voluntarily created the world out of nothing. God graciously relates to the world as one self-limited out of respect for the genuine freedom of creatures. This relational, pantemporal God does not exhaustively foreknow future actual events. Above all, the open view of God emphasizes love as God's chief attribute and as the primary priority for theological construction. "The living God is . . . the God of the Bible," writes Pinnock, "the one who is genuinely related to the world, whose nature is the power of love and whose relationship with the world is that of a most moved, not unmoved, Mover" (3).

The book's introductory chapter may be the most interesting part of the book to those already familiar with the general themes of openness theology. In it, Pinnock cites numerous objections to the Open view penned mostly by Evangelical theologians of a Calvinist bent. For instance, "I have to say, with regret," says Don Carson of The Openness of God, "that this book is the most consistently inadequate treatment of scripture and historical theology dealing with the doctrine of God that I've ever seen from the hands of serious Evangelical writers." Robert Morey criticizes the open view by calling the deity it envisions "the finite God of evangelical processianism.
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This is an open arena, where everyone can read your words: it is not the place to call other Christians who disagree with you "heretics." Open theism does not call into question any of the basic tenets of the Christian faith such as the deity of Christ, the atonement, the resurrection etc... Does God having only partial knowledge of the future mean Christ didn't save us?

Anyone who has read Pinnock on any subject besides this (I'm guessing most Calvinists have not) will find a man who makes arguments for the absolutely centrality of Scripture and the need to avoid twisting it to fit cultural biases. Yes, he sometimes seems guilty of this himself with some of the issues of open theism and I most definitely disagree with his annihilationist view of Hell. But pointing out one or two verses which seem to say the opposite is not sufficient. Scripture has tension in it and one must go with what he/she believes is the best summation of the general direction of Scripture.

The preface and introduction of the book were the most important for me as an evangelical theology student. Seeing the absolute vitriol to which a new idea was faced including baseless accusations of being "unbiblical" (it is built on Scripture, perhaps a misreading in your view, but the appeals to Scripture are numerous and in context)

After having read MMM, I am still what I was - basically a classical Arminian, but I found open theism to be a valid reading of Scripture, simply not the one I find most compelling. Early on I kept bringing up problems with the view and he kept answering them. The answers were not always fully satisfying, but apparently he is aware of the areas in his argument is open to attack and ready to meet them. Of course there are verses that "plainly" show open theism is wrong.
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