John M. Frame
Reviewed by: Larry Wilson
Date posted: 06/17/2007
No Other God: A Response to Open Theism, by John M. Frame. Published by P&R, 2001. Paperback, 240 pages, list price $12.99. Reviewed by editor Larry Wilson.
This welcome book joins God's Lesser Glory, by Bruce Ware (reviewed in New Horizons, December 2001), as a book-length critique of "open theism." Open theism (or "openness theology") is a growing movement within evangelicalism promoted by such theologians as Clark Pinnock and Gregory Boyd. It takes the humanistic elements of evangelical Arminianism and pushes them to their logical extremes, denying God's sovereignty for the sake of human libertarian freedom.
While the two books agree, they are far from identical. Ware takes aim at open theism's implications for the doctrine of God's omniscience. John Frame, professor of systematic theology and philosophy at Reformed Theological Seminary (Orlando), addresses in a more far-reaching way open theism's implications for the whole doctrine of God. Frame expresses appreciation for Ware's book and aims to complement it. "It is important," he writes, "to gather multiple witnesses in defense of what we believe to be the biblical position."
This book shows Prof. Frame at his best. First, he is clear, fair, concise, and biblically faithful. Second, he in- teracts carefully with specific Scripture texts. Third, he exposes and disproves the underlying philosophical presuppositions of open theism. Fourth, Frame refutes open theism in the light of faithful systematic theology. He insists that God is absolutely sovereign. Fifth, he shows open theism to be a recycled version of Socinianism, a heresy rebutted by the Protestant Reformers.
I particularly applaud Prof. Frame's serious wrestling with the passages that open theists marshal (such as those describing God as "relenting," "repenting," or being "grieved"). He argues convincingly that we best understand these texts when we reckon with God's immanence as well as his transcendence, in relation to both space and time. His suggestions along these lines regarding God's "temporal omnipresence" and the real "give-and-take" between God and his creatures in history may well prove to be genuine contributions to the doctrine of God. I also appreciate Prof. Frame's unwillingness to speculate beyond Scripture, and his firm resolve to bow humbly before the mysteries of Scripture (for example, in his discussion of the absolute sovereignty of God and the problem of evil). In this, he not only defends Reformed theology, but also exemplifies the Reformed ethos.
No Other God is an excellent, lucid polemic that speaks the truth in love, resolutely and faithfully defending the biblically Reformed understanding of the sovereignty of the living God as opposed to the claims of open theism. It is nicely laid out, with helpful footnotes on almost each page, a good bibliography, and thorough indexes.