Answered Questions – Open Theist Hermeneutics

From the Open Theist Facebook page:

Have any open theists outlined a specifically open hermeneutic?

1. From Bob Enyart’s debate with Lamerson:

But because the argument based on God’s attributes and His redemption intervention in history stands not on a few proof texts, but on the combined force of the entire Word of God, whatever they concoct will have little persuasive effect, and the Openness movement will win over Christians in growing numbers and by far more biblical and powerful evangelism, increase the harvest of souls.


JONAH demonstrates that attributes like relationship and love take precedence over immutability, knowledge, and power, thereby establishing the truth of Openness by obliterating the only justification for the Settled View.

And by JONAH, we can therefore use NOAH, the:


NOAH resolves conflicting interpretations by selecting those which give precedence to the biblical attributes of God as being living, personal, relational, good, and loving, and by rejecting explanations derived from commitment to the philosophical attributes of God such as omniscience, omnipresence, omnipotence, impassibility, and immutability.

2. From Rightnerve:

The Eight-Year Hermeneutic:

Definition: Ask an 8-year old, “What does this verse mean?” Almost always…you’ll hear what it means.

An 8-year old isn’t educated enough to spiritualize away obvious meanings. It takes a Master’s Degree in Theology or a serious reading of several dead Germans to become stupid enough to try that.

The Eight-Year Hermeneutic’s Corollary #1: If the 8-year old is home-educated, the hermeneutic’s accuracy rate increases 518.42%.

The Neo-Christianized Hermeneutic:

Definition: If most Christians say it, it’s probably wrong.

The Neo-Christianized Hermeneutic Corollary #1: In most cases, the more a Christian quotes a verse, the less likely it’s in the Bible.

3. From Walter Brueggemann’s Theology of the Old Testament:

We may now consider the peculiar and characteristic way in which Israel formulates its testimony about God. Here I suggest what appears to be a normative way in which such utterance is given in Israel, a way that constitutes the primary witness of Isreal…

It is important, first of all, to recognize that Israel’s utterance about God is characteristically stated in full sentences, and the sentence is the unit of testimony that most reliably is taken as revelation. Here we do well to follow James Barr in his warning against overreliance on isolated words. 14 I insist that God is embedded in Israel’s testimony of full sentences and cannot be extracted from such full sentences…

Second, Yahweh the God of Israel, who may variously be designated by many titles and metaphors, is characteristically the subject of the active verb. 16 Thus the characteristic claim of Israel’s testimony is that Yahweh is an active agent who is the subject of an active verb, and so the testimony is that Yahweh, the God of Israel, has acted in decisive and transformative ways… For our large purposes we should note, moreover, that such testimonial utterance in Israel is characteristically quite concrete, and only on the basis of many such concrete evidence does Israel dare to generalize.

The third element of this standard testimony of Israel is that the active verb has a direct object, the one acted on, the one for whom transformation has been wrought. 19 In the first instant, the direct object may be a personal pronoun— me, us— as the witness speaks about his or her own changed circumstance . Or this direct object may be expressed more formally as “Israel,” who is regularly the recipient of Yahweh’s direct activity. 20 But then, as we shall see, the direct object may vary greatly to include all of creation or even nonhuman parts of it, or the nations who are acted on by God in this rhetoric.

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