by Bruce Ware
Recent decades have witnessed a renewed and vigorous interest in the doctrine of God within evangelical theology. Theologians from the broad evangelical spectrum have produced both differing and innovative reformulations in understanding just who God is and how he relates to the world he has made.
Only a moment’s reflection makes clear that revisiting this doctrine amounts to a reconsideration of the foundations of the Christian worldview itself, taken at its largest and most comprehensive level. Everything in theology and life is affected by just how one understands the nature of God himself and the nature of God’s relationship with the created order, particularly with his own people. A. W. Tozer could not have been more to the point:
What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.
Therefore, evangelical pastors, Christian leaders, and educated and concerned laypersons would benefit much from being aware of some of these proposed understandings of the God of the Bible coming from different evangelical scholars and communities.
The purpose of this book is to put before readers a sampling of some of the most important proposals for understanding the doctrine of God from within evangelical theology.
Certainly the four positions described and defended in this book do not exhaust the work being done, but these chapters provide a helpful understanding of key points along the spectrum of viewpoints that evangelical theologians are currently advocating.
A careful reading of these chapters will go a long way to informing readers of some of the most prominent proposals of the doctrine of God offered today within the broad movement known as evangelicalism.
The design of this book is to offer two pairs of viewpoints on how God and his relations to the world should be understood, one pair of chapters coming largely from the Reformed camp, and the other pair from the movement of free will theism, more commonly thought of as the broad Arminian camp.
Of course, both within Reformed and Arminian traditions, significant differences can be detected, such that neither camp is by any means monolithic. Because of this, we thought it best to represent both a more classical or traditional Reformed and Arminian perspective while also presenting more modified versions of each of these traditions as these have been developed in recent years. One will find, then, two Reformed perspectives and two free will theist (Arminian) perspectives in the four chapters of this book.
In each case the defenses of the traditional views are coupled with some innovative modifications of these traditions which, while still Reformed and Arminian respectively, represent something of a modification of aspects of each of these traditions.