A good friend asked me today what I thought about openness theology. This was my response.
This would be a long discussion, but in general I think both sides get this wrong by allowing outside concepts (by which I mean outside the revelation of God in Jesus Christ found in Scripture) to govern how we conceive of God and how we frame theological discussions. The openness people are as guilty as those they oppose of continuing to follow the framework of Greek philosophy. (Just like postmodernity is still bound by the concepts of modernity; rejection of an idea by itself does not free you from the idea.)
What if, instead of beginning either with the standard attributes (the omnis, immutability, impassibility) as most conservative theologies do (both Protestant and Catholic), OR beginning with a rejection of these (as openness or process theologies do), what if we began with the most certain fact we have: the God we are dealing with is the One Jesus calls “Father,” the One whom Jesus claimed his followers had already seen in Jesus himself. What if we then went on to describe this Father as the God of Israel – the One who related so openly to Moses, to Elijah, to Isaiah, to Jeremiah, etc. There is so much we can know and deduce about this God, and almost none of it fits easily into the Greek framework that so many of us still insist on using.
I think the main reason is because we are more like the children of Israel than we are like Moses. This God scares us to death. We would much rather deal with concepts we can understand, golden calves we can mold, rather than climb the scary mountain topped with holy fire.
Theology can all too quickly devolve from a worthwhile quest to understand God better into a religiously cloaked barrier that insulates us from the God who seeks us. Don’t let false questions and categories forged from others’ melted down concepts cloud your vision of the Father of Jesus Christ.