Chad Owen Brand

Open theism has become front-page news in evangelical theological circles. Professors cannot teach any subject in the intellectual theological disciplines these days without paying some attention to what open the-ists are saying. And the discussion does not go very far before someone starts wondering where all of this came from. Did Clark Pinnock, Gregory Boyd, John Sanders, and others get their ideas from the Bible? Or were they driven to their model by some set of philosophical presuppositions? Casual observers have noted similarities between open theism and process theology. is this new view simply process thought dressed up in a more evangelical garb? And while we are at it, we might also field questions from those on the other side of the fence who wonder whether and to what degree traditionalism has been influenced by philosophical concerns. Were the Nicene Fathers simply recapitulating Platonism? Are their contemporary children propagating biblical theology or Hellenistic philosophy?

Questions about how theological systems are related to philosophical systems have been around for some time. They have surfaced again, though, in the controversy over open theism. It seems imperative, there-

44 beyond the bounds fore, for us to take a long look at open theism and its philosophical connections, and to open again the same questions with regard to orthodoxy. And it will be necessary not only to ask whether there are similarities between these theological systems and various philosophical projects, but whether those similarities entail borrowing, dependence, and synthesis. The fact that there are occasional similarities between two schools of thought is neither here nor there. But if, for instance, a system of thought employs the same set of arguments to prove the same basic ideas for the same purposes as does another system, and if one can establish a historical connection between the two, then that might entail more than an accidental similarity. This essay will probe whether traditionalism or open theism are doing just that.

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