A reformed Evangelical critique of Thomas Jay Oord’s Evangelical process theology

Orr, Brian Jonathan (2020) A reformed Evangelical critique of Thomas Jay Oord’s Evangelical process theology. PhD thesis, Middlesex University / London School of Theology. [Thesis]

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Abstract

This research thesis explores the method and content in the Evangelical process model of relational theism as advanced in the writings of Thomas Jay Oord. The specific aim of the thesis is to evaluate and critique Oord’s model of divine providence, identifying the internal inconsistencies within Oord’s philosophical and theological framework, problems in his methodology, and clearing up misconceptions he and the process tradition have of classical theism, while constructively showing that the general sense of Scripture agrees more with classical theism than process theism, as it pertains to divine power.

This thesis concludes that Oord’s Evangelical process theology is insufficient as a biblical model due to its inability to harmonize with the various complexities and themes of Scripture, which a robust doctrine of providence requires. While admitting that the Bible does not have an internally consistent definition of love, Oord set out to formulate a definition of love, descriptive of God’s love in Scripture, claiming that it is the dominant form of love in the Bible. His attempt, however, proved unsatisfactory because his methods were flawed in that he limited his scope to biblical texts that supported a philosophically contrived definition of love. Oord’s process metaphysic placed a stricture on God’s power that was exegetically unjustifiable, and he advanced a straw- man argument against a conception of coercion, which comprised his strongest objection against classical theology, that classical theism does not, and never has, affirmed. His model is inadequate as a viable alternative to classical theology because its metaphysics cannot support and account for biblical truths he affirms that were originally formulated in the long-standing classical tradition of Christian theism, which he rejects. Oord claims that Scripture functioned as his primary source and guide in the formulation of his theology. However, this thesis concludes that his theological framework is axiomatically grounded in process metaphysics, serving as the “handler” instead of the “handmaiden” in constructing a relational model of Christian theism.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Sustainable Development Goals:
Theme:
Research Areas: A. > School of Law
B. > Theses
C. Collaborative Partners > London School of Theology
Item ID: 35649
Depositing User: Lisa Blanshard
Date Deposited: 17 Aug 2022 11:21
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2022 18:15
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/35649

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