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Searching for an Adequate God: A Dialogue Between Process And Free-Will Theists [Paperback]

John B. Cobb Jr. , Clark H. Pinnock
2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
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Book Description

June 2 2000
In this book advocates of both process and free-will theism come together for the first time to describe their respective theological perspectives and enter into constructive dialogue with each other. Featuring two of today’s best philosophers—David R. Griffin representing process theology and William Hasker representing free-will theism— as well as theologians interested in both views, this volume provides a fully orbed discussion of these two vital theological positions.

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2.8 out of 5 stars
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Right-Sized God July 16 2004
Size matters. Many Christians know of J.B. Phillips classic book, Your God is Too Small. But few consider the possibility that their God is too BIG. When believers zealously attach all the "omnis" they can imagine to God, perhaps who emerges is not the God of scripture at all. What seems required is a God neither too small nor too big.
Constructing an adequate vision of God is the principal goal for essayists in Searching for an Adequate God. Of course, as contributor William Hasker remarks, "it is our conceptions of God that must be evaluated as adequate or inadequate, not God himself." Most essayists contend that a concept of God adequate to scripture, tradition, reason, and experience (the Wesleyan quadrilateral) is required or, as Hasker puts it, a conception of God "adequate for the faith and life of the Christian church." Whether explicitly or implicitly stated, both sides consider their own theistic conceptions to be more adequate given these criteria.
Given classical free-will theism's ties to evangelicalism and process theism's ties to liberal Christianity, it may seem unlikely to outsiders that the visions entertained by these camps overlap to any degree. However, even insiders may be surprised to find the large extent to which these visions can be harmonized. In many ways, Searching for an Adequate God serves as a bridge-builder. It reveals to the evangelical community that the process vision is more palatable than many had previously thought. The book also reveals to process theists, who typically run in liberal theological circles, that free-will/openness versions of evangelical theology are more palatable than they had assumed.
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This book is crucial for sorting out whether Open Theists are really evangelical Process Theists. This book's spirited, yet surprisingly irenic, dialogue demonstrates that while the two perspectives share a few commonalities, they are undoubtedly very different from one another. The 'Crucial Difference', as Open Theist William Hasker puts it, is that Process Theism dismisses Divine Intervention in human affairs, while Open Theism wholeheartedly affirms this treasured evangelical truth. While I do not adhere to either system, I cannot in good conscience label Open Theists as closet Process Theists, heretics or non-inerrantists for that matter. This book proved to me that the writings of Open Theists need and deserve to be taken at face value. There has been far too much eisegesis of their claims and not enough exegesis of them, particularly from the Baptist General Conference, the Evangelical Theological Society and the overall Reformed hegemony. While I believe Open Theism is wrong on many counts, I certainly wouldn't call it heresy. I highly recommend that those who wish to engage in fair, even-handed investigation on Open Theism's relationship and deviation from Process Theism read this book. It has proven to be the most profitable book on Open Theism I've read to date. I'm certain it will put many allegations levied against Open Theists to rest. So lay your presuppositions concerning Open Theism aside and allow its proponents to be heard on their own terms. You'll be glad you did.
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While attempting to build a case for Open Theory of Bible Interpretation,which selectively/artificially literalizes much of Bible's God-analogous-to-man language (conveniently excluding physical form texts or Divine Unknown Question texts like "Saul,Saul,why do you persecute Me?" "Cain, why is your face downcast?" "Moses, why do you cry out to Me?" and dozens more)all the author has demonstrated is the debt Openness owes to Charles Hartshorne,Bi-Polar Processist (see separate review of Hartshorne's 'Omnipotence&Other Theological Mistakes',so seminal/paradigmatic for Open Theory).He tries to distance Open deity from Process deity, and many points are valid [God is not identified with the world pantheistically or unable to use His power from time-to-time to intervene and make adjustments to the course of history, or of necessity dependent on Creation(merely by free loving choice),Trinity,Creation Ex Nihilo,etc.]Openness is not equivalent to Process, but the commonalities and co-presuppositions are striking and ramifications on how they do theology are often unwitting, yet like Greg Boyd,he acknowledges philosophical/metaphysical/rational/paradigmatic indebtedness to Hartshorne,without whom Open Theory would most likely not have come to be.Some excerpts from Pinnock's recent Evangelical Society essay highlight how far he has trespassed over the borderline separating Orthodox Christianity from Process and Free-Will theories:SELF-EMPTYING DIVINE ATTRIBUTES -We could think of Open view as a theology of kenosis,i.e. 'Self-Emptying'.God freely chose self-limitation for the sake of covenant with humankind,just as the Son of God,surrendering the divine glory to become human,chose to enter fully into the human condition and share in human suffering. Read more ›
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