Richard Rice – The Future of Open Theism

Episode: The upstart theological movement called open theism is coming of age. It’s time to reassess its possibilities, promises, and perils. One of the founders of open theism, Richard Rice, speaks with co-host Matt Bates about varieties of open theism, vexed models concerning God and time, and his own spiritual journey in the face of the intense controversies surrounding open theism within evangelicalism.

The Book: Richard Rice, The Future of Open Theism: From Antecedents to Opportunities (IVP Academic, 2020). Open theism has reached its adolescence. How did it get here? And where does it go from here? Since IVP’s publication of The Openness of God in 1994, evangelical theology has grappled with the alternative vision of the doctrine of God that open theism offers. Responding to critics who claim that it proposes a truncated version of God that fails to account for Scripture and denies many of the traditional attributes of God, open theism’s proponents contend that its view of God is not only biblically warranted but also more accurate―with a portrayal of God that emphasizes divine love for humanity and responsiveness to human free will. No matter what one’s assessment, open theism inarguably has made a significant impact on recent theological discourse. Now, twenty-five years later, Richard Rice recounts in this volume the history of open theism from its antecedents and early developments to its more recent and varied expressions. He then considers different directions that open theism might continue to develop in relation to several primary doctrines of the Christian faith. (Publisher’s description).

Guest: Richard Rice received an MDiv degree from Andrews University in 1969, and an MA and PhD in Christian theology from the University of Chicago in 1972 and 1974, respectively. Rice is a Professor of Religion at Loma Linda University in the areas of Theology and Philosophy of Religion. Rice is the sole author numerous books, including God’s Foreknowledge and Man’s Free Will; The Reign of God: An Introduction to Christian Theology from a Seventh-day Adventist Perspective; and Search for Meaning: Contemporary Responses to the Problem of Pain. He also co-authored, along with Clark Pinnock, John Sanders, William Hasker, and David Basinger, the book that for practical purposes launched open theism into the mainstream of theological conversation, The Openness of God: A Biblical Challenge to the Traditional Understanding of God.

OnScript’s Review: All Christians have implicit or explicit models regarding how God engages the world. As classical theologians consider the widest categories—God’s relationship to time, providence, and human free will—open theism has proven to be a disruptive but necessary conversation partner. Richard Rice masterfully maps the past and present landscape of open theism while adding his own powerful and creative voice. –Matthew W. Bates, author of The Birth of the Trinity, for OnScript


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