Granted, as the apophatic tradition (emphasis mine) tells us, there are limits to our knowledge of God” (p. 64). Apophatic Tradition? Dear God, what is that? Soulens Handbook of Biblical Criticism didn’t have it, Elwell’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology and his Evangelical Dictionary of Theology didn’t have it, IVP’s New Dictionary of Biblical Theology didn’t have it, Webster’s Tenth Collegiate Dictionary didn’t have it, nor did Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged have it either. I had to do an extensive web search before I found Onelook.
com, an in depth lexicographical site with 805 dictionaries covering 4,819,254 words. This research to find the apparent meaning of one term (definitions included on separate sheet at end) was time intensive and not user-friendly. If Pinnock and his compatriots want to reach a wider, more receptive audience they can’t afford to use terms like Apophatic Tradition without simplification! Explicate; don’t obfuscate! Clarify the terms for all interested readers, unless you desire to see your position ignored and finally marginalized to the point of becoming trivial.
Way back on page 14 Brother Pinnock says he suspects a wave of Arminian criticism still to come, and it greatly concerns him for, “if the Arminian evangelicals decide to line with the Calvinistic evangelicals in opposition, there is little future for the open view in evangelicalism. ” I pray this is not prophetic, for we constantly need to have our complacency shaken that we may remain alert and (horrors) stay relevant. Well, my “theological nose” has been tweaked and I’m the better for it, but I’m afraid it will quickly heal and once again become insensitive to new ways of thinking.
That’s why I hope the openness theologians keep up their hue and cry and perhaps drag us kicking and screaming to the light of truth in Jesus. If we’re not there already, of course, and if there isn’t some other new theology lurking out of sight just around the corner of the future. I don’t know, and I’m sure I find scant comfort if God doesn’t know either. In Hebrews 6:13-20 Priscilla (? ) says, “When God made a promise to Abraham, because he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself, 14 saying, “I will surely bless you and multiply you.
” 15 And thus Abraham, having patiently endured, obtained the promise. 16 Human beings, of course, swear by someone greater than themselves, and an oath given as confirmation puts an end to all dispute. 17 In the same way, when God desired to show even more clearly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it by an oath, 18 so that through two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible that God would prove false, we who have taken refuge might be strongly encouraged to seize the hope set before us.
19 We have this hope, a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters the inner shrine behind the curtain, 20 where Jesus, a forerunner on our behalf, has entered, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek” (NRSV). I need that anchorage, I need His steadfastness, I need His unchangeable character to guarantee His unchangeable Word and Promise. I need the Most Moved Mover to remain unchanged and unchangeable… most of the time, and I think Clark Pinnock will allow Him to… at least most of the time!