Here is my response to Clark Pinnock's book, 'Most Moved Mover.'
So here goes with Pinnock, I actually like much of what he has to say, but have some difficulties with him as well. Although, in comparison with the wide world of theology, I have less of a bone to pick with him than I do with most. For starters, he affirms the relationality of God, and the premium He places on love and freely given submission, as opposed to law-abiding obedience. He also highlights both the authority given to humanity on the earth under God, and the desire for partnership in God's kingdom project...
The first point of disagreement is minor, I think he is unclear in what exactly he claims about God's attributes. Depending on just what he means by his terms then either he is (or is not) imbalanced in his approach to God, but the greater difficulties lie in the starting point (asking theological questions instead of asking textual questions) and in the method (systematizing scripture instead of narrating it). Finally, he has avoided engagement with many conversation partners that he must engage to show the veracity of his conceptual framework.
He affirms the terms 'omniscient and omnipotent' but denies 'sovereignty and foreknowledge.'
To me that seems a little odd. The words he affirms seem even stronger than (and inclusive of) the terms he denies. I need to hear clarification on this.
He seems (depending on what exactly he means with the previous terms) to go too far afield from what seems a balanced reading of the texts. It seems obvious that his dialogue partners are the Calvinists and that he is essentially offering a counter-point to their theology. In doing so, however, he seems to make the same mistake that they do. The Open Theistic denial of God's sovereignty (just like the Calvinist's denial of creaturely freewill) is to cut the ties between two truths that scripture seems to have bound together. I believe that the tension that comes from holding to two seemingly opposite truths is actually a healthy tension.
It seems that his starting point, and methods, are a category mistake. As though God meant to give us a list of theological questions with their corresponding answers, but then accidentally gave us a collection of poems, narratives, personal letters, and ancient public health codes. (Sorry, tongue in cheek there!)
His starting point is essentially to ask questions about the nature of God. It seems rather he should be asking questions about the nature of scripture. In taking scripture seriously we would be paying more attention to the substance of the text itself; giving just as much time and effort to understanding the questions scripture is asking, as the answers it is offering. If the starting point is scripture itself, I think he would ask some different questions that would lead to some subtly different answers. Although, I must say, I see his answers as much closer to the correct ones as others who ask the same kind of questions he asks. (I think the Calvinists ask the same questions he asks, but give very different answers.)
This ties directly into the last point. Instead of approaching scripture on its own terms he takes the systematic approach. I think this is not exactly wrong-headed, and it certainly has its helpful place, but a much better approach would be the narrative one (in fact, at the end of the day, I think the narrative approach gives us much of the same picture of God and faith that he offers without some of the difficulties that arise from his book.)
This ties in to the first point. He has really only engaged with the Calvinists, which allows no real nuance to be developed in his thought. He needs to engage with Orthodox and Roman Catholic thought, Kingdom theology, the Wesleyan/Holiness tradition, and then he will be forced to clarify...