Kurt Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem says (i) all closed systems are unprovable within themselves and, that (ii) all open systems are rightly understood as incomplete. - R.E. Slater

The God among us is the God who refuses to be God without us, so great is God's Love. – Tripp Fuller

According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater

Our eschatological ethos is to love. To stand with those who are oppressed. To stand against those who are oppressing. It is that simple. Love is our only calling and Christian Hope. - R.E. Slater

Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger

Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton

I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – Anon

Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII

Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut

Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest

People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – Anon

Certainly, God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater

An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater

Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann

Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner

“Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh” means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14) or, conversely, “I AM who I AM Becoming.”

Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton

The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens, we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – Anon

The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul

The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah

If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – Anon

Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson

We can’t control God; God is uncontrollable. God can’t control us; God’s love is uncontrolling! - Thomas Jay Oord

Life in perspective but always in process... as we are relational beings in process to one another, so life events are in process in relation to each event... as God is to Self, is to world, is to us... like Father, like sons and daughters, like events... life in process yet always in perspective. - R.E. Slater

To promote societal transition to sustainable ways of living and a global society founded on a shared ethical framework which includes respect and care for the community of life, ecological integrity, universal human rights, respect for diversity, economic justice, democracy, and a culture of peace. - The Earth Charter Mission Statement

Christian humanism is the belief that human freedom, individual conscience, and unencumbered rational inquiry are compatible with the practice of Christianity or even intrinsic in its doctrine. It represents a philosophical union of Christian faith and classical humanist principles. - Scott Postma

It is never wise to have a self-appointed religious institution determine a nation's moral code. The opportunities for moral compromise and failure are high; the moral codes and creeds assuredly racist, discriminatory, or subjectively and religiously defined; and the pronouncement of inhumanitarian political objectives quite predictable. - R.E. Slater

God's love must both center and define the Christian faith and all religious or human faiths seeking human and ecological balance in worlds of subtraction, harm, tragedy, and evil. - R.E. Slater

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Process vs Classic Church Theism: Cobb v Geisler, Part 3

Process vs Classic Church Theism:
Cobb v Geisler
Part 3

by R.E. Slater

Process Theology Debate:
Norman Geisler vs. John Cobb
Posted: Aug 21, 2021

De Veritate Apologetics and Philosophy

In this debate, Norman Geisler defends the position of 
classical theism against the process theology of John Cobb.

Comment: "As a former evangelic I totally understand the need for evangelicalism to claim victory in this debate. But now, as a process guy, I see all too plainly the obtuseness of Geisler's claimed victories and how he argued from his own self-referential and self-reinforcing theistic system putting words into Dr. Cobb's speech as well as process thought itself that aren't there. Pleases note: Part 2 is not on the youtube video nor could I locate it anywhere except here at the linked below." - R.E. Slater

Overview: Geisler defends Evangelicalism
"Process Theism versus Classical Theism" - Click here to hear Part 1 and Part 2 of a fascinating debate from the 1980s between Norman Geisler and John Cobb on Process Thought (a.k.a. Process Theism, Process Theology, Process Cosmology, Process Philosophy) and the strange, panentheistic God-world model of process philosopher A.N. Whitehead. John Warwick Montgomery was present at the debate and told Norm that he had just totally destroyed Process Thought.

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Earlier Posts

Part 4 - Process Theology v Classical Theology - unfinished

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The Story of the Bible 3

"Every good theology needs a great philosophy to rest upon
even as a great philosophic-theology must rest on love." 
- R.E. Slater

Self-referential and reinforcing theological systems usually aren't much help when seeking to study non-evangelical theological systems foreign to themselves. Usually, self-referential systems weigh their own selves down in a multitude of ways as is the case with classic theism as upheld by conservative evangelicalism. "Biblically" endorsed systems, having been established as acceptable church traditions "sanctified" by God and "approved" by the Spirit are usually difficult for theologians to peer outside their own veritable faith boxes to look at their beliefs from another vantage point. Or if they do, they must not admit to their findings lest excommunicated by the church, institution, organization, or fellowship in which they participate.

When listening to Norman Geisler I could hear my own biblical background rumbling up from under the past, warning of difference and change. Raised as a straight-laced theological mutt from an eclectic background of Baptist (GARB), Reformed (RCA), Fundamental (IFCA), and conservative evangelical traditions, my "defending" faith did its job to earnestly raise its alarms - diving deeply into the many past apologies and defenses of its separate-but-conjoining heritages to bring into mind past historical heresies, gnosticisms, and such-like-labelling, all shouting "Go no further ye who enter!"

And listening closely to Norman's words (as my tradition had taught me to listen when defending my faith) I heard him say that he had read and studied thousands of pages written by Whitehead, Whiteheadian scholars, and Process Theologians. Which, had he done so, would've sounded in his debate more like my posts here on this site than what I had heard as the outcome of his speech back forty years ago when I was yet young, nearly out of seminary, highly impressionable, very active in ministry, and yet to look at the world beyond my own faith structures, paradigms, and constructs.

Further, had I been sitting in the Claremont audience in support of Norman I would have been shouting Amen in my heart along with John Warwick Montgomery at every other word he spoke as he stood up for Jesus and the faith of true Christianity:

Philippians 1:27 ESV
Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel,

Galatians 5:1 ESV 
For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

1 Timothy 6:12 ESV
Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

Revelation 2:4 ESV 
But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.

As good bible literatists here's 93 other verses all related to standing firm for the faith once given....

But I wasn't in the audience that day and hadn't any idea what Process Philosophy and Theology is owing to my fundamentalist background, though I was widely read, hailed from a non-Christian, normally dysfunctional home, was basically illiterate in Christianity until I went to a state university, and later learned about my faith more formally through a bible college and seminary. In all these ways and more, I was simply starting out in life learning as I could learn from those around me through books, libraries, teachers, preachers, good friends, my elders, and the community in which I worked and laboured.

Amazingly, it took until my sixth decade, at 58 years or age, until I came to process thought on my own  by the aid and grace of the Spirit even as I had come to open and relational theology  on my own (both from my studies in biblical Arminianism, sic., Wesleyanism, and away from the systematic Calvinism I was raised in. (FYI: ORT is an outcome of PT, and not the other way around). With each, I had happened to stumble into them not realising the Christian traditions each had risen from... traditions I was totally oblivious too and apparently forbidden to research (well that I was, for if I had I most likely would have never found PP&T even now).

All I know is that after many years of searching I could not find the hermeneutic I needed to helpfully interpret the bible in a better way than what I was observing in "traditional" Christianity. My senior M.Div. capstone project in seminary would be the closer I would come in achieving this goal which someday I should publish. But as good as it was, when discovering process theology I knew immediately how to fit all my past and past studies and beliefs in-and-around process thought. It brought the best out of the Christian faith and must be shared.

Unfortunately, this has not been the direction of my past faith fellowships as they struggled with emerging spirituality movements arising out of person wildernesses of worshipping a non-relational, non-immanent, transcendent God of judgment and wrath (later known as the emergent church movement). Or, could my past fellowships see the non-Christian of color, race, culture, gender, sex, etc, beyond their bible verses of judgment and condemnation. What later became known as progressive Christianity centering in on social, economic, and legal just for all persons living under the US Constitution avowing freedom, liberty and justice.

As it was, both movements have by now merged together, each taking from the other, both the inward and the outward embrace of a God who cares and loves for us in intimate ways we cannot begin to understand in our limiting religious cultures of difference forbading change. 

Hence, my former Christian fellowships have wandered off into a number of harming paths led on by the well-meaning, but wrong, Norman Geisler's and John Warwick Montgomery's of their day. Paths of violence, kingdom dominionism where church law rules over any-and-all civic laws, White Christian nationalism and white supremacy each centering on socio-political theologies of exclusion and unlove.

The church's theology seems to always, inevitably turn sour, rotting under its own institutional weight of God's law v God's grace having once again bastardized the gospel in Jesus of God's sacrificial love of service in ministrations of mercy and forgiveness. We, the church of America, having placed blinders onto our eyes, ears and hearts, cannot see the destruction we create when not allowing the Spirit of God to flow into non-Christian communities in kind and loving ways. Ways which might proffer better results than the iron sword and buckled jack boot of American capitalism led by extremist Christian beliefs.

At the last, when witnessing how the past sixty some years of Christianity has evolved since its post-WW2 days into the post-Christian era we now live in it is no wonder we are where we are when refusing the Martin Luther Kings of our communities to sup and have fellowship with us. Or turning a blind eye to street urchins living away from their abusive homes. Or school children caught up into drugs and gangs because they cannot find identity anywhere else. On every front the church needs to dig in and reclaim neighbors, not fly from them because their property values are falling or they don't wish to live in blended communities. All this is how I would describe a White evangelical theology which is better left dead then to resurrect it again.

Folks, the hermeneutic is Love. God's Love where God's Love Wins. We don't need those push-back car stickers saying "Jesus Wins" as it shows the very lesson we hear in Norman's speech. He's not listening. He's already made up his mind that the other guy is wrong. To him, Jesus Wins, not Love Wins. By splitting theological hairs and raising the difference of exclusion evangelical Christianity has made it's own bed to lie in. The bed may be quite comfortable for those having made it. But for those of us, including the Lord God Himself, we would find sleep to fly from our heads if resting upon such unloving covers and bedsprings.

Finally, the foundation can no more be Platonism, neo-Platonism, Thomism, Englightened Thought, and such like. The integral theory to place all other studies and disciplines on top of seems to be process philosophy. All other philosophies, psychologies or theologies are but mere descriptions of process' parts but not its whole.

If you wish a personal God with open future seeking the full potential of creation as it is meant to be, than a process theology built upon process philosophy is the way to go. John Cobb had it right and people like myself and Norm should've been listening and figuring out how to make it work based upon past church creeds and traditions. We haven't and it's taken people like myself many decades later to be able to see it as our church era of the modern era has give away to constructive postmodernism and post-Christian secular thought seeking a better arrangement of society than it presently is showing.


R.E. Slater
November 24, 2021

Additional Helps

John Cobb - Whitehead's Model and Multiple Spiritualities
Feb 13, 2015

Center for Process Studies

Check out (http://www.whitehead2015.com) -- Seizing an Alternative Conference

John B. Cobb, Jr. "Whitehead's Model and Multiple Spiritualities" Center for Process Studies Seminar at Claremont School of Theology, Spring 2002.

Sep 23, 2021

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