Annotated list of publications on open theism by John Sanders


  • The God Who Risks: A Theology of Divine Providence. Revised edition 2007 (first edition 1998, IVP). Considered the most thorough treatment of the biblical, historical, philosophical, and practical materials on open theism.
  • The Openness of God, I edited and contributed to the book along with Clark Pinnock, Richard Rice, William Hasker, and David Basinger (1994, IVP). The classic work on the topic summarizing biblical, historical, theological, philosophical, and practical concerns.
  • Does God Have a Future? A Debate on Divine Providence. With Christopher Hall (Baker, 2003). Covers a variety of questions about open theism.

Articles and book chapters:

  1. “Sanders in Dialogue with Muslim Responses to Open Theism.” Divine Action: Challenges for Muslim and Christian Theology. Sanders and Von Stosch eds. (Brill, 2021). Pp. 65-76.
  2. “Providence in Light of an Open God and an Open Future.” Divine Action: Challenges for Muslim and Christian Theology. Sanders and Von Stosch eds. (Brill, 2021). Pp. 3-18.
  3. “Open Theism.” The Encyclopedia of Philosophy of Religion (Wiley-Blackwell, 2020).
  4. Sanders, John and William Hasker, “Open Theism: Progress and Prospects.”  Theologische Literaturzeitung 142/9 (2017)” 859-872.
  5. “God, Evil, and Relational Risk” in Michael Peterson ed., The Problem of Evil: Selected Readings, second edition (University of Notre Dame Press, 2017). Pp. 327-343
  6. “A Goldilocks God: Open Theism as a Feuerbachian Alternative?” Coauthored with J. Aaron Simmons. Element 6.2 (Fall, 2015): 33-53. Suggests open theism as moderate position between some views in analytic philosophy and Continental philosophy (e.g. Caputo) regarding humility in our knowledge claims about God while affirming practiced traditions.
  7. “Open Theism.” Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy Online, April, 2015. Summary and key support for the view and responds to some important criticisms.
  8. “Open Theistic Perspectives—The Freedom of Creation” in Ernst Conradie ed., Creation and Salvation Volume 2: A Companion on Recent Theological Movements (LIT Verlag, Berlin, 2012). Explores what open theism means regarding salvation and the environment.
  9. “Open Creation and the Redemption of the Environment,” Wesleyan Theological Journal, 47/1 (Spring 2012): 141-149. Apples open theism to environmental concern and contrasts it to process theology and Calvinistic evangelicalism.
  10. “Open Theism” in the Global Wesleyan Dictionary of Theology Albert Truesdale (Beacon Hill Press, 2012).
  11. “Divine Reciprocity and Epistemic Openness in Clark Pinnock’s Theology,” The Other Journal: the Church and Postmodernity (January 2012). Shows that Pinnock’s understanding of divine openness involved humility regarding our knowledge claims.
  12. “The Eternal Now and Theological Suicide: A Reply to Laurence Wood,” Wesleyan Theological Journal 2 (Fall, 2010): 67-81. Responds to Wood’s criticism of open theism that it is incompatible with relativity physics.
  13. “Theological Muscle-Flexing: How Human Embodiment Shapes Discourse About God,” in Thomas Jay Oord ed., Creation Made Free: Open Theology Engaging Science (Pickwick Publications, 2009). Uses cognitive linguistics to show the mental tools humans use to think about God.
  14. “Divine Suffering in Open Theism” in D. Steven Long ed., The Sovereignty of God Debate (Wipf and Stock, 2008).
  15. “Responses to Bacote, Kalantzis, Lodahl, and Long” in Steven Long ed., The Sovereignty of God Debate (Wipf and Stock, 2008). Responds to the other chapters on the nature of divine suffering.
  16. “Divine Providence and the Openness of God,” in Bruce Ware ed., Perspectives on the Doctrine of God: Four Views (Broadman & Holman, 2008).
  17. “Responses to Helm, Ware and Olson,” in Bruce Ware ed., Perspectives on Doctrine of God: Four Views (Broadman & Holman, 2008). Reponses to the two theological determinist views (Helm and Ware) and to Olson’s simple foreknowledge view.
  18. “An Introduction to Open Theism,” Reformed Review, 60, no. 2 (Spring 2007). This issue of the journal includes three articles by Reformed (but not strong Calvinist) theologians responding to my article.
  19. “How Do We Decide What God is Like?” in And God saw that it was good: Essays on Creation and God in Honor of Terence E. Fretheim, ed. Frederick Gaiser and Mark Throntveit, (Word & World supplement series 5, April, 2006). [This is not on open theism directly. It deals with the values and concerns that motivate which views we find acceptable.]
  20.  “Response to the Stone Campbell Movement and Open Theism,” in Evangelicalism and the Stone-Campbell Movement, Vol. 2, ed. William Baker (Abilene Christian University Press, 2006). The book contains several chapters in which theologians from the Stone-Campbell movement engage with open theism.
  21.  “On Reducing God to Human Proportions” in Semper Reformandum: Studies in Honour of Clark Pinnock, eds. Anthony Cross and Stanley Porter (Paternoster, U.K. and Eerdmans, U.S. 2003), pp. 111-125. Addresses Paul Helm’s claim that open theism is a reduction of God. Argues that all views are “human” views.
  22. “Is Open Theism a Radical Revision or Miniscule Modification of Arminianism?” Wesleyan Theological Journal2 (Fall 2003): 69-102. Shows where open theism agrees with the watershed issue that divides freewill theism from theological determinism and where open theism modifies traditional freewill theism.
  23. “On Heffalumps and Heresies: Responses to Accusations Against Open Theism” Journal of Biblical Studies 2, no. 1 (Spring 2002): 1-44. My plenary address at the Evangelical Theological Society when it was debating whether to vote Pinnock and me out.
  24. “Be Wary of Ware: A Reply to Bruce Ware” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society (June 2002): 221-231.
  25. “A Tale of Two Providences.” Ashland Theological Journal 33 (2001): 41-55. Review of Boyd’s God of the Possible, and two Calvinist works: Still Sovereign and God’s Lesser Glory.
  26. “The Assurance of Things to Come” in Looking to the Future, ed. David Baker, (BakerBook House, 2001): 281-294. Explores possible open theistic answers about whether God can assure a future eschaton.
  27. “Does God know your Next Move?” with Chris Hall, cover story for Christianity Today, May 21, 2001, pp. 38-45 and June 7, 2001, pp. 50-56.
  28. “Theological Lawbreaker?” Books and Culture (January, 2000) pp.10-11. Reprinted in Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Controversial Issues in Religion, Daniel Judd, ed. (McGraw-Hill, 2002). Responds to criticisms of open theism by Stephen Williams in his review of The God Who Risks.
  29. “Why Simple Foreknowledge Offers No More Providential Control than the Openness of God,” Faith and Philosophy 14, no. 1 (Jan. 1997): 26-40. Also published in Kevin Timpe, ed., Arguing about Religion (Routledge, second edition, 2009): 362-373. Shows why the simple foreknowledge and divine timelessness positions actually do not allow for God to use knowledge of future events to act providentially. The use of simple foreknowledge by the Eastern Orthodox, Wesleyans, and Arminians is useless to God.

John Sanders

John E. Sanders is an American theologian who is a professor of religious studies at Hendrix College. He has published on four main topics: (1) open theism, (2) Christian views on the salvation of non-Christians, (3) Christian views on the nature of hell, and (4) applying cognitive linguistics to theology.

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