Check out this video. I saw it on the Youth Specialties site and . . .well. . .in all honesty, I’m not sure what to think about it. It definitely makes me think though. That’s why I posted it here. Take a couple minutes to watch it, read my post below, and then respond. I’d love to know what you guys think.
I can pretty much agree with most of what the video is saying, but I’m not quite sure it’s the whole truth. I mean – Yes, the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd screens have served to connect people to the world and even to each other to some degree. But they have also served to isolate people. And the 4th? Is it really promising that much freedom? It’s true that people can get their information wherever they are and that means they can be out with people and making REAL connections again, but what about the other side? For example: You’re out with your friends making REAL connections, but you keep getting text messages from other people. Are you truly present with your friends? or are you really somewhere else? Doesn’t this hinder REAL connections? And just because you’re out and about with people doesn’t mean you’re making REAL connections either. I’ve watched lots of students (I’m a youth minister) being completely isolated by their phones in the middle of a huge group of people.
In the end I guess this whole revolution is just another communication device. The church is just going to have to “man up” and find ways to do ministry within the cultural norms and forms of communication. I’m not sure what this revolution means to the world of ministry, but as a youth minister, I’m witnessing huge differences in the students of today compared to those even 5 years ago.
Rather than hiding in a bunker and pretending that nothing has changed, I think the church needs to discover how the 4th screen (texting, twitter, social networking, etc.) can be used to glorify God? How can the church use these new technologies to further His Kingdom? Or an even more elementary question – what is a REAL connection? What is community? Can a virtual community truly be a biblical community? What type of relationship/community is needed to honor God? What instruments/tools/technologies can help us to build those relationships/communities? Are these technologies appropriate for communicating the value/depth/glory of the Gospel? Anyway, these are just some of my thoughts. What do you guys think?
Calvin Miller says something in his book “The Empowered Leader” which is so simple and yet so clear that it forces me to think/meditate on it more. He says, “God can only direct the flexible.”
How often do we equate our legalistic (non-flexible) behaviors with being more spiritual – Saying to ourselves, “If I can do this or that or spend this much time serving Him, then I’ll be more spiritual.” Romans 14, it seems pretty clear that the weaker man is the one who is more legalistic. The one who lives in freedom seems to be the stronger.
Just thinking about this stuff this morning.
Open Theology (also called “Freewill Theism”) states that God does not
know the future. He changes His mind in response to our prayers. This idea
comes out of the “Freewill/Arminian” position which says that because
of our freewill, God cannot know the future. If He did, then we don’t really
have freewill. John Sanders describes the three main points:
God is Sovereign, but decided to create us in such a way that we could experience a
reciprocal relationship with Him.
God made some of His decisions non-negotiable, but others are contingent upon man’s requests and actions. He truly responds to what man does. He knows the future as partly definite and partly indefinite.
God chooses to exercise general rather than meticulous providence. He doesn’t control everything that happens in a man’s life, but has flexible strategies for accomplishing His purposes.
They hold a high view of human freedom and even say that God will not violate our freedom.
They appeal to God’s testing of Abraham saying that God didn’t know if Abraham could be trusted with the covenant that He had intended for him. The verse actually says, “for now I know that you fear God.” (Gen 22:12)
Here’s what I think:
There are plenty of other verses which uphold God’s infinite knowledge. 1 Samuel 16:7 – God knows the heart. Psalm 139:1-2 – God knows all my ways, even the words I will speak. (That sounds like the future to me.) Anyway, considering these verses, we’ve got to either reinterpret them (and other which I have not mentioned) or reinterpret the Genesis passage. It seems more probable that the one should be reinterpreted than all the others. If you consider the book of James which interprets this Genesis passage, it becomes clear that the emphasis is on the fact the Abraham’s faith believed that God could raise Isaac from the dead. If the NT authors didn’t comment on God’s limited knowledge, why should our emphasis be any different? It seems pretty clear that James (Brother of Jesus) never imagined that God learned something that day, but more likely that Abraham did. Abraham knew his faith in new ways that day.
Here are some other thoughts regarding Open Theology:
How do you explain all the Scripture that describes God’s infinite understanding?
What about Jesus’ statement in John 8:58 “Before Abraham was, I Am.”?
What about prophecy?
Does God get surprised?
Does God get smarter as time goes on?
If God doesn’t know the future, then that must also mean that He is confined to the limits of time as man is. Doesn’t sound like much of a God to me – Like me, He’s imprisoned to time (which He supposedly created) like me. Like me, He doesn’t know the future. Like me, He gets surprised by other people’s actions.
I’m just not sure we have a god at all anymore. He seems a lot like me.
How does this make a difference for me?
Not at all – cause I can’t subscribe to this view. I will say that knowing the basics of these ideas will prepare me for discussions within the youth ministry that I work with. I feel like I should take some time in the future and study up a bit more on all of this so I can be more prepared. It seems like it might be an appealing theory for our culture that devalues God and uplifts man’s position. It’s probably a growing ideology that I should be ready to give an answer to.
(Info from “Does God Know Your Next Move?” by Chris Hall and John Sanders)