Renown pastor-theologian Greg Boyd remains something of a fascination for me. I thought I’d reproduce his FAQ from his Renew website:
“Do you consider yourself an ‘Evangelical Christian’?
I hold to a high view of biblical inspiration and most of my theological views are in line with what would be considered “evangelical.” So in this sense, I consider myself an “evangelical.” But the word “evangelical,” as well as the word “Christian,” has become associated with many things that are radically inconsistent with the example of Jesus’ life, which we are to emulate. So I’m very hesitant to identify myself with either term until I know what my audience means by them.
Do you deny that God knows the future?
This is the most common misconception regarding Open Theism. I believe God knows everything, including the past, present and future. But I also believe the future is different from the past in that the future contains possibilities while the past is irrevocably settled. So I hold that, precisely because God’s knowledge is perfect, God knows the future exactly as it is – that is, as containing possibilities. Some things about the future are “maybes,” and God knows them as such.
Are you a “heretic”?
Some people charge me with being a “heretic” because I believe that the future is partly “open.” But the church has never made beliefs like this a test for orthodoxy. There are a number of people in church history who have held to an open view of the future, and none were accused of heresy on this account.
Are you a “process” theologian?
I think process philosophy has some good things to teach us, but I’m not a process theologian. Among other things, process philosophy typically denies creation ex nihilo (creation from nothing), denies God’s omnipotence, denies God can respond to prayer and intervene in miraculous ways in history and denies God will once and for all overcome evil in the future. I disagree with all of these points. On the other hand, process philosophy holds that the future is partly comprised of possibilities, and I agree with this. But this doesn’t make me a process theologian. This is like calling Calvinists Muslim simply because they happen to share the Koran’s belief that God determines everything.
Do you think abortion is okay?
I think abortion is a terrible evil. I am opposed to all violence against living creatures except when absolutely necessary, and I am opposed to all violence against humans even when it’s deemed “necessary.” Where people get my view confused is that I don’t think a person’s convictions about abortion, or any other matter, unambiguously translate into a particular way of participating in the political process. I thus will not use my position as a pastor to encourage people to vote a certain way. The Christian way of addressing abortion is not about voting a particular way. It’s about making personal sacrifices for women with unwanted pregnancies to help them go full term and either raise the child or place the child for adoption.
What, then, is our problem with a Greg Boyd?