Critic Defends Open Discussion

From the comments section of the Patheos: Why open theism doesn’t even matter (very much) blog post:

It troubles me that for all the lip service given to civility, fairness, and honesty among conservative evangelicals, we succeeded in silencing (in a way tantamount to intellectual bullying) an important and potentially enriching theological discussion on the nature of omniscience (even if we end up disagreeing with the Openness view). I followed much of the public debate and found it disheartening. In my opinion, this is a great loss to the church on a number of fronts: (1) we failed to demonstrate that even with deep theological differences, we can listen, understand, and assess and yes, profoundly disagree, in a Christian manner; (2) we have also, in effect, stifled any future discussion about this subject (or similar subjects) in conservative circles and created a social stigma around anyone who thinks the view has merit; (3) we managed to push Open Theists (unfairly, I think) to the periphery of “theological acceptability” so that others automatically dismiss their other contributions due to their stand on this one issue.

Some will no doubt see these developments as a great victory for Christian truth, but I see them as a great loss to what could have been a robust and beneficial contribution to our understanding of God. While I am not an Open Theist, I am sympathetic to the concerns that they raise and believe that, as Christians, they have the right to raise them and have their views treated fairly in public discussion. Are we so theologically insecure that we can no longer engage ideas that question our assumptions and challenge us to rethink our positions–especially, when there is at least a prima facie reason for it based on what Scripture itself says?

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