Open Theism’s Attack on the Atonement

John MacArthur | May 18, 2010

Open theism arose in evangelicalism over a decade ago when evangelicals posited a God to whom one can easily relate and who is manageable in place of a God who punishes sinners for their sin. This they did by proposing a model of Christ’s atonement that was not substitutionary. To do so they adopted the model of the 16th-century Socinian heresy, which taught that God could forgive without the payment of a ransom. The biblical doctrine, however, is that Christ’s atonement was substitutionary, a teaching that was not immediately defined in the early church, but which Anselm stated clearly during the 16th century. Open theists on the other hand tend to vacillate between the inadequate positions of Abelard and Grotius in their views of the atonement. Because of their distorted views of the atonement, open theists do not belong in the ranks of evangelicalism.

Vol. 12, no. 1 (Spring 2001)

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MacArthur, John. "Open Theism’s Attack on the Atonement." The Master's Seminary Journal 12, no. 1 (Spring 2001): 3-13.