I’m sure some will say that open theism was never off the agenda, but to be honest, it doesn’t seem to have the same profile as it had, say, a decade ago. But I’ve received notification of a new book, published by the Wipf and Stock imprint, Pickwick Publications, that may excite new attention. Here’s the blurb:
In Evangelism and the Openness of God, Vaughn Baker argues that a dynamic concept of God as articulated in open theism better serves the evangelistic mission of the church than does conventional theology. Open theism affirms an ontology of love as opposed to power, and it focuses on God’s kenosis in creation, allowing for the authentic freedom of creation influenced by divine persuasion. God’s genuine temporal relationship with creation—one that is open, synergist, and non-coercive—provides a new perspective for evangelistic activity. In this volume the author has made a valuable contribution to the integration of new developments in theology and evangelism.
Undoubtedly, many will say that ‘conventional theology’ – whatever that is! – serves the church’s evangelistic mission quite well, but Baker’s book definitely sounds like it’s a useful contribution to the body of literature on evangelism. I’ve never been fully convinced by the type of evangelism, surely heavily influenced by the doctrine of limited atonement, that says, ‘Well, as I don’t know who’s been predestined to eternal life, I’d better preach to all indiscriminately.’ This, to me, suggests that one should hold Calvinistic beliefs but practise Arminianism practice – or, as someone once said to me while I was an undergrad, ‘Preach Arminianly.’ Perhaps Baker’s book will show us how to avoid this tension between belief and practice.
Anyway, Vaughn W. Baker’s Evangelism and the Openness of God: The Implications of Relational Theism for Evangelism and Mission is available now.