Theologian John Sanders lost his college teaching job recently because of his endorsement of “open theism”—the view that the future is not determined by God. His ouster from Huntington College in Indiana followed three years of nasty debate within the Evangelical Theological Society, a significant faction of which wanted to expel Sanders (along with Clark Pinnock) on the grounds that his position with respect to God’s foreknowledge was inconsistent with ETS’s adherence to biblical inerrancy.
Just what is open theism? What is at stake in the debate about it? And why has the topic elicited such passion in evangelical circles?
James K. A. Smith teaches philosophy at Calvin College. He is the author of Speech and Theology: Language and the Logic of Incarnation (Routledge) and Introducing Radical Orthodoxy: Mapping a Post-Secular Theology (Baker Academic).