Olsen’s Thoughts on Thomas Oden

From the post:

During his plenary address Oden harshly criticized open theism which was then a matter of controversy among evangelicals. Bubbling up toward the surface then was serious talk about expelling open theists from the Evangelical Theological Society. Oden labeled open theism “heresy” and identified it as “just process theology.” During the Q&A I stood at the microphone and challenged Oden’s identification of open theism as “just process theology” attempting to point out the differences. From the podium in the Beeson Divinity School chapel with hundreds listening Oden said to me “Olson, sit down. We will never agree about this.” I did sit down and was not so much embarrassed for myself as for him! Nobody else at the conference was treated so rudely. I was also embarrassed for Oden, in that situation, because anyone who knows much about both process theology and open theism knows they are very different.

I was also disappointed in Oden’s rude rebuff and seeming ignorance about both process theology and open theism because I considered him a luminary of what he himself had called “postmodern orthodoxy” and because I thought he would at least be open to reconsidering his labeling of a significant party of evangelicals heretics based on a misunderstanding.

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