What is open theism and what are the dangers?

 By Spencer D Gear

Dr Clark Pinnock (photo courtesy Friends Network)

The father of Open Theology is regarded as the late Clark Pinnock (died 15 Aug 2010). Here is an online lecture by Pinnock, ‘Clark Pinnock on Open Theology (Pt. 1 of 7)’. Here’s an interview with Pinnock on the topic, ‘Does Prayer Change Things? Yes, if you’re an Open Theist’.

Who are the advocates of openness theology? Greg Boyd, Clark Pinnock, Richard Rice, and John Sanders are some of the prominent proponents.  Greg Boyd has stated that  God ‘does not know every detail about what will come to pass…The future is, to some degree at least, open ended and God knows it as such’ (Boyd 2000:8).

Open theism questions these fundamentals of orthodox theology:

  • God’s omniscience (all knowledge);
  • God’s immutability (unchanging);
  • God’s eternity;
  • God’s omnipresence;
  • God’s unity;
  • God’s omnipotence (all-powerful).

See the article, “An examination of open theism“.
Also see, “The doctrine of open theism“.

In my understanding, this doctrine is a serious threat to an orthodox view of the attributes of God. For an assessment, see, ‘The dangers of Open Theism’, by Tim Chaffey. Other assessments include:

For another brief overview, see my article:Does God change his mind?


Boyd, G A 2000. God of the possible: A biblical introduction to the open view of God. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

Pinnock, C; Rice R; Sanders, J; Hasker, W; & Basinger, D 1994. The openness of God: A biblical challenge to the traditional understanding of God. Downers Grove, Illinois, USA: InterVarsity Press / Carlisle, UK: The Paternoster Press.


Copyright © 2014 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 18 November 2015.