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The Battle for God: Responding to the Challenge of Neotheism Paperback – November 1, 2001
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A must read book forAnyone concerned about the changing views of God within evangelical Christianity. (Paul Virtue Get to the Pointe 2004-06-03)
From the Back Cover
What does God know?
When does God know what He knows?
What can God do about it?
God’s understanding, power, and wisdom are at issue in the first consequential theological debate of the twenty-first century. Neotheism, also known by such names as the “openness of God” theology, argues for a limited Creator and Sustainer. He can only guess what the free-willed human beings will do. Sometimes He guesses wrong and must undo the damage.
The Battle for God reminds us how far such a view of God diverges from the traditional understanding of God described in the Bible and also the Triune Being confessed by church fathers through the Reformation. Norman L. Geisler, H. Wayne House, and Max Herrera describe nothing less than a contest to set the course for all of Christian faith, with vast ramifications for the future understanding of God’s essential attributes—His omniscience, omnipotence, eternality, simplicity, and sovereignty.
Here is a clear and unambiguous refutation of arguments in recent writings by the three central neotheists: Greg Boyd, Clark Pinnock, and John Sanders. But more than simply a negative attack on those who propose to redefine God, the authors present a systematic confession of the attributes—what they mean, why we can take confidence as Christians in the God they describe, and why the battle for God is well worth fighting.
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They state that Gregory Boyd "offers ridiculousness as a criterion for determining what (in the Bible) is figurative. But this is not an objective criterion." (Pg. 71) They charge that Boyd states that we cannot know what God's wisdom is like; "However, this is self-defeating because in order to make this assertion, Boyd must know that God's wisdom is like." (Pg. 129) They assert that for the Open Theists, "the basis of their metaphysics is their interpretation of the Bible, and the basis for their interpretation of the Bible is their metaphysics." (Pg. 161)
They note that "Even Satan is under God's control" (pg. 226), and that "human decisions are under God's control. The Bible affirms that God is in sovereign control of everything we choose, even our own salvation." (Pg. 227)
They criticize the Open view, since "if God does not know future acts for certain, then He could not know that Satan will deceive the nations and gather them for war and surround the camp of the saints and the beloved city. (Rev. 20:8-9) Hence, either this prophecy could be false or else neotheism is not correct." (Pg. 257) They add, if God is "only guessing the results of many free choices, it is reasonable to assume that some prophecies ARE in error." (Pg. 258)
This book is a significant contribution to the ongoing debate about this issue.
The authors of this book believe traditional theism is being challenged by those claiming to be evangelical, but who have doctrine that is contrary to orthodox theology and monotheism. The Authors call it neotheism; its proponents prefer calling it open theology or freewill theism. Neotheism is akin to process theology: God is changeable and does change-who he is and his mind. Traditional theism argues God is omnipotent, omniscience, and immutable. The neotheist claims to believe God is both omnipotent and omniscient, but have certain caveats to the terms that alter their meaning. The neotheist have six rules that explain their perspective of God:
(1) The world is created ex nihilo; God created the world without the aid of substance. God does intervene unilaterally
(2) God chose to create us with incompatibilistic freedom- freedom over which God does not overrule
(3) The moral integrity of God is such he does not choose to overrule certain decisions by man even though He finds the results obnoxious.
(4) God desires each individuals highest good and our well being as a human race
(5) God does not have exhaustive Knowledge what will happen in our lives and the decisions we as a people will make or as individuals. Yet the neotheist claims God is omniscience because God knows the facts as of this second.
The authors argue how these views are in variance to Arminian theology: which argues God foreknows who will accept Jesus as his Savior. I state this so those who read this review do not confuse Neotheism with those who oppose Calvinistic definition of predestination. The book presents arguments of Arminius and Calvin, but not any more then Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Martin Luther, Francis Turretin, and Jonathan Edwards.
Other theologians are quoted only after it is explained the traditional view of theology is consistent with scripture and the neotheist thoughts on the subject are wrong. The authors of this book do not argue that God chooses who will accept Jesus as Savior; they do argue God does know what is and what is to come. God never permits man's freedom to hinder His will. That God has emotions but his nature will not changed by them. The nature of God is the same today as yesterday and will not Change tomorrow. The authors explain this is not what the neotheist believe.