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OPEN 2013 - Open Theology & the Church

The first Open theology conference for church leaders begins tonight. I'm honored to be helping to lead this historic event, and I hope that it becomes an annual event.

OPEN 2013 - Open Theology & the Church is being held at Woodland Hills Church in St. Paul, MN and sponsored by ReKnew Ministries. The conference keynote speakers are Greg Boyd, John Sanders, and Thomas Jay Oord.

For livetweets of the event, follow @OpenTheology on Twitter.

Q&A sessions with the conference speakers will be live streamed at The Open View website. To participate in the discussion, tweet your questions using #OPEN_2013.

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The Future of Christian Theology in the US—A Review of Relational Theology: A Contemporary Introduction

Relational Theology: A Contemporary Introduction 

Editors: Brint Montgomery, Thomas Jay Oord, and Karen Winslow
Paperback: 115 pages
Publisher: Point Loma Press (Wipf & Stock) - 2012
Language: English

Wipf & Stock

(Special thanks to Thomas Jay Oord for a copy of this book!)


Relational Theology: A Contemporary Introduction (hereafter RT) is a collection of very brief essays written by a sizable group of diverse scholars on a wide variety of subjects related to "Relational Theology." As Thomas Jay Oord, one of the book's editors, explains in the introduction, Relational Theology is an umbrella term that covers a broad spectrum of theologies that are all related to one another by their common values of relationship, freedom, and love. Examples of Relational theologies include, but are not limited to:

  • missional theologies
  • feminist and/or womanist theologies
  • Pentecostal and/or charismatic theologies
  • liberation and/or postcolonial theologies
  • Wesleyan theology
  • process theology
  • open theology
  • Arminian and/or holiness theologies
  • trinitarian theologies

I must admit, in addition to the table of contents, this list made me very excited to begin reading this book. Much of the most courageous Christian scholarship being produced today falls into one or more of these categories.

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Underground Theology: Open Theism Needs New PR

Open Theism has a serious PR problem. In fact, it has several. For starters, the name is terrible. It simply doesn't clearly communicate the view's central tenet: the partially indeterminate nature of the future. Which is understandable, since the central tenet is obscure and unsexy. However, good PR is designed to fix that. Instead the name "Open theism" invokes the idea that it is a type of theism (which already sounds way too general) that is "open" to other theisms. "Open theism" sounds like the perfect name for a type of religious pluralism that considers every possible theism valid—making it very "open." Secondly, with the exception of Greg Boyd and perhaps a few others, the theology scholars who have written in favor of Open theism are not charismatic personalities. Most are pure academics. Already this creates a disconnect between the intended audience—Christian laypersons—and the author. This is only exacerbated when the academic author communicates as if he (and they are almost entirely men too) is writing to his academic colleagues. Finally, the most prominent Open theist authors are by and large not very culturally or technologically savvy. Therefore, you don't see the proliferation of well-designed, strategically-marketed materials promoting their view. By contrast, Neo-Calvinism resources are extremely well-designed and strategically-marketed. Therefore, it isn't very difficult to understand why that view is gaining more and more ground in the US each day.

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Theological Graffiti is a blog written by T. C. Moore @tc_moore ...a Jesus-disciple, husband, father, Associate Pastor @NewCityChurch of Los Angeles, sometimes web designer, writer, and theology geek. For more about me, visit my Personal Website or my Online Profile. Otherwise, enjoy the graffiti.

T. C.

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