Open Theism, once a doctrine known only to Christian academics, is slowly becoming mainstream among evangelicals. While it continues to be a minority position, it is gaining wider acceptance and several popular Christian authors are teaching it or teaching principles derived from it, even while denying their belief in it. This represents one of the battle-lines of the contemporary church and it is important for Christians to know what this doctrine teaches and be prepared to give a defense of the traditional view of God. This short book, written by Bruce Ware, sets out to teach believers the basics of what they need to know to defend the traditional doctrines.
Put simply, open theism is a doctrine that teaches that God does not fully know the future, for he cannot see what humans will do with the free will He gives them. Therefore, God has taken a great risk in giving us freedom. Of course this contrasts with the biblical teaching of God’s omniscience – that He sees and knows everything in the past, present and future – as well as God’s omnipotence – that He not only knows these things, but controls them as well. More than just a minor difference in doctrine, open theism threatens some of the beliefs Christians hold most dear. How can we have confidence in a God who does not know what will happen minutes, hours or days from now? How can we trust a God who is constantly making errors in judgment as He guides our lives the best He can, using only the information that He is able to see at the time? Why should we pray to a God who values our opinion as highly as our own? This is not the God of the Bible! As the title of the book tells us, the God of open theism is too small, having been created in the image of man.
Their God Is Too Small introduces the main proponents of open theism, explains the basics of their beliefs and shows the implications of this doctrine. The author concludes that open theism undermines the believer’s confidence in God as the One who can be trusted to walk with us through pain and suffering; as the one who gives us a hope for the future. The constant theme is that this God is just far too small to be the God we learn of from the Scriptures.
This book, at only 129 pages, serves merely as an introduction to this doctrine, but it serves that purpose well. It is easy to read and understand, even for those who know little about theology. The reader will be left with an accurate depiction of the arguments for and against this doctrine as well as a strong sense of just what is at stake. I am glad to give it my recommendation.