Theistic Personalism and the Erosion of Classical Christian Theism
In his first lecture at the Southern California Reformed Baptist Pastors Conference James Dolezal assessed the state of theology proper within calvinistic Evangelicalism. Dolezal compares the Classical Theism that has traditionally marked Evangelicalism with Theistic Personalism, the belief that “in order for God to be truly personal he needs to somehow enter into relationship with us in a give-and-take sort of way.” In Theistic Personalism creatures must be able to affect change in the creator. As such, this view of God must adapt, or reject, the traditional understanding of divine immutability in order to accommodate a dynamic relationship between God and man.
Dolezal first presents the traditional understanding of God’s self-sufficiency and immutability before examining the new claims of Theistic Personalism regarding God’s relationship with the world. Next, he investigates the novel notion that God is, in some way, sovereign over himself. Finally, Dolezal explains the high stakes of the debate in order to stress the importance of correctly understanding theology proper.
Ultimately Dolezal suggests “that we should worship the one who gives to all but is enriched by none.”