A Referendum on Open Theism?
- Thursday, November 20, 2003
R. Albert Mohler, President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky said, "the problem is, we're dealing with ideas, we're dealing with doctrines. And we have to separate the teaching from the individuals and deal with the ideas, the concepts, the doctrines themselves. Then, we just have to have as a general principle the understanding that anyone who holds or teaches such things is to be excluded from membership."
Earlier in the day, Pinnock spoke to a standing-room only crowd, where he admitted, "The issue is not me. It is whether the society wants to be of a certain kind, or another kind." In the wake of this year's events, that kind of introspection may well be taking place.
Mohler says, "The big issue before the ETS right now is whether this is a society of Evangelical theologians or a society about Evangelical theology. There's a critical distinction between those two ideas." While not despondent, he sees a significant challenge in front of the group. Mohler said, "If the society does not find a way to deal with the issue of Open Theism, in short order they'll be nothing 'Evangelical' about the Evangelical Theological Society."
Immediately prior to the report of the final vote, the aging Roger Nicole told the packed ballroom that this could well be the last annual meeting he would be able to participate in. His charge to the group was that, "Inerrancy is a treasure for us. That word is a treasure...tied up with the inerrancy of God Himself.... They cannot be separated.... The Bible cannot be, in it's original autographs, in error any more than God ever can be. And so ... I commit this to you, to your conscience, and to your mind." Through accented English, and to a standing ovation the native Swiss Reformed theologian left the society he helped found with something to think about.
Russell Shubin is the Editorial Director for the National News and Publics Affairs division of Salem Communications.
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