Monthly Archives: May 2014

Sectarian Diversity

This is a musing I put up on an Open Theism page that I’m a part of. When I refer to “Greg” I’m speaking of Greg Boyd who is quite influential in open theistic circles.

I want to ask a question but it will be put more in the form of a statement. This is also actually related to other issues as well, for example the “Health and Wealth Gospel” and is something I’ve had rolling around in my head for some time now. But I guess I’m wondering what the “goal” of open theistic theology is. Think of it like this. Say, back in the 1950’s, the “Health and Wealth Gospel” was virtually unheard of. America did start to see the major celebrity preachers come into the spot light at this time, but it wasn’t until the 1970’s that we begin to see the “Health and Wealth Gospel” come to full fruition. Since that time, there have been numerous articles and books (not to mention negative press from the secular media) talking about scams and the dangers of the “Health and Wealth Gospel” and yet here we are in 2014, and has the Health and Wealth Gospel gone the way of the do-do bird? Nope. Still here. Fundamentalism. Has DEEP roots in America. LOT’S of criticism of that. Still here. Let’s forward to Open theism. Institutions like the Catholic Church (or at least some leaders) consider it to be a heresay. So my question is, what is the goal of adherents of different religious movements and in this case, open theism? See, I’ve heard people complain when they were a prof at a Christian institution that there was a lack of openness to differing points of view ie., some won’t consider evolution and will even fire someone for teaching such “heretical views.” So what is the solution to all of this? What do open theistic proponents hope to achieve? Will they be not be satisfied until he whole world converts? Or at least the evangelical world? Well, I have news for you. Not gonna happen. Greg said years ago that he wasn’t concerned about the results but rather about being faithful. OK. I get that. But does that not mean NOT TRYING TO CONVERT people to your point of view? I mean, there has to be more to all the energy expended than simply being faithful. There has to be the hope of converts. To see, if not great swaths of folk “jumping the broom” and coming over to your side of seeing things then at least SOME. Is there not also the goal of correction? But is the traditional classical view of God like going to go the way of the do-do bird any time soon? Probably not. So would not a better solution be to accept things the way they are? Preach IN YOUR circles an open theistic view but leave everyone else be? In saying this, I’m not suggesting that one not have conversations with willing participants outside your circle, but should the goal be to convert say, Catholics whom predominantly believe in the classical view? Sometimes we see changes on political and theological issues. There is more acceptance of blacks and interracial marriage than years previous. More acceptance of same-sex marriage. More openness on certain Christian campuses to different points of views. But this isn’t across the board. Institutions will have their “defining lines.” Beliefs and policies that separate them markedly different from others. Call this a sectarianism. But it’s there. All around. For everyone. Is this such a bad thing? I just saw a t-shirt that said, “Be the change.” I’m sure it means personal change that will ultimately affect the world. But again, what is the goal? It’s so vague! Change to see what? Sometimes I think evangelicalism (and the church in general) is rife with an over-realized eschatology. “If I get enough folk to see it my way things will be better!” (as far as that goes).