Open Theism

"Open Theism" is the Christian doctrine that the future is not set in concrete and is not totally predetermined and settled. Although this undeniable bible truth is considered to be heresy to many Calvinist and Arminian theologians, the bible affirms that God is able to change His mind and alter His course of action in history. The God of the bible declares that He has created mankind in His image, and as such holds mankind morally responsible for his actions. God, as the Judge and Lord of all the world , has declared that He can change His mind for either weal or woe, life or death, according to the actions of individuals and societies to either reject or heed the Holy Spirit's call to repent, turn from sin and rebellion, and call upon Christ for forgiveness and eternal life.

When Manasseh, the wicked king of Israel, repented and called out to God from his dungeon in Babylon, God changed His mind and God forgave him, withdrew the divine threat to destroy him and his kingdom and God restored him to the throne.

2 Chronicles 33:10-13 And the LORD spake to Manasseh, and to his people: but they would not hearken.  Wherefore the LORD brought upon them the captains of the host of the king of Assyria, which took Manasseh among the thorns, and bound him with fetters, and carried him to Babylon. And when he was in affliction, he besought the LORD his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers , And prayed unto Him:

and He (God) was intreated of him, and heard his supplication, and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the LORD He was God.

Nineveh was under condemnation and about to be destroyed, but when the people of Nineveh repented and called upon the name of the God of Jonah, God changed His mind .

Jonah 3:1 - 4:1 And the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the second time, saying, Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee. So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city of three days' journey. And Jonah began to enter into the city a day's journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.

So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them. For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water: But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands. Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?

And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.

Elijah declared in the case of Ahab, who had committed so many abominations, that God was about to destroy him. But Ahab repented and God changed His mind and forgave him.

1 Kings 21:25-29 But there was none like unto Ahab, which did sell himself to work wickedness in the sight of the LORD, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up. And he did very abominably in following idols, according to all things as did the Amorites, whom the LORD cast out before the children of Israel. And it came to pass, when Ahab heard those words, that he rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his flesh, and fasted, and lay in sackcloth, and went softly . And the word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, Seest thou how Ahab humbleth himself before me? because he humbleth himself before me, I will not bring the evil in his days: but in his son's days will I bring the evil upon his house.

When the children of Israel made the golden calf and worshipped it, God declared that He would destroy them and raise up a people from the seed of Moses. But Moses interceded and God changed His mind .

Exodus 32:7-14 And the LORD said unto Moses, Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves: They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. And the LORD said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people: Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them : and I will make of thee a great nation. And Moses besought the LORD his God, and said, LORD, why doth thy wrath wax hot against thy people, which thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power, and with a mighty hand? Wherefore should the Egyptians speak, and say, For mischief did he bring them out, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth? Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants, to whom thou swarest by thine own self, and saidst unto them, I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken of will I give unto your seed, and they shall inherit it for ever. And the LORD repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people.

The Jews at the time of Christ were not predestined to destruction but, because they did not heed the warnings and entreaties to repent, were warned that because of their unrepentant hearts they and their city would be destroyed. Even after the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, the vast majority stubbornly resisted the pleadings of the Holy Spirit to repent. But for those who did repent on the day of Pentecost, God changed His mind and saved all who called upon the name of Christ. The future of God's blessings or curses was in their hands according to their response of either repentance or hardness of heart.

Matthew 23:27-38 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchers, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchers of the righteous,  And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers.

Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation.

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.

These kinds of examples are found all through the bible and demonstrate how the future of individuals and nations is not predetermined and not  foreordained by God .  From Genesis to Revelation, Open Theism is actually the preeminent and prevailing salvation theme and paradigm. God does not live "outside of time" as the Grecian philosophers like to assert.

The God of the bible lives and moves, hopes and warns, suffers and weeps, exists and has His being with us now in the reality of the present time. The God of the bible lives neither in the past nor in the future. The God described in the bible lives in the present reality with us in the now . And He has sovereignly determined and freely given mankind, through the enabling prevenient power of the Holy Spirit, the ability to decide and determine their future. The future does not exist yet, but we ourselves are freely given the ability to the determine what our future will be. This is the saving message of the bible and the God described therein.

Luke 13:22-30 And he (Christ) went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem. Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them, Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are: Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets. But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out. And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God. And, behold, there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last.

The God of the bible is declaring to each of us that our future is not pre-determined by some unalterable divine decree by an unfeeling stoic Grecian god. The loving Father and God of the bible is reaching out to all of us. Christ through the Holy Spirit is speaking to each of us through the word of God. He opens our deaf ears to hear the good news of the free offer of the forgiveness of our sins. He calls us to repent of the leprosy of sin and the love of the vain things of this world. Just as once He told the paralytic to arise, He daily invites us also take up our beds and walk in the newness of life.  He opens our blind eyes so that we may see and perceive Christ as true Pearl of Great Price who has taken upon Himself our guilt and shame and suffered for our sins on the cross of Calvary. He is not off and afar in a distant land. He with us in the here and now and will not forsake us even unto the end of the world: "behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age".

Matthew 7:7-28 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.

Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it. And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine:

Revelation 22:17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.