The Sovereignty of God Debate

By D. Stephen Long and George Kalantzis (editors)

A collection of lectures from a variety of theological standpoints, offering a wide-ranging discussion of the nature of God’s sovereignty over creation.

ISBN: 9780227172964


How is God sovereign with respect to creation? Does creation affect God? Does God suffer or change because of creation? If so, how is this related to Christology? Why have these questions been so controversial in evangelical theology, even costing some people their jobs?

This book is a collection of lectures given to the Forum for Evangelical Theology at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. Six theologians answer the questions above from a variety of perspectives. They draw on resources including the church fathers, Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin, Jürgen Moltmann, process theology, and open theism.

In the process of answering the question “Does God suffer?”, each theologian also illustrates how responding to this subject requires an examination of other crucial evangelical issues, such as how to read Scripture and what it means to proclaim that God is Love. Although the writers answer these questions in a variety of ways, the hope is that engaging in this conversation together can help evangelicals and all Christians to speak more faithfully of their sovereign God.

Additional information

Dimensions 229 × 153 mm
Pages 204

Trade Information JPOD

About the Author

D. Stephen Long is Professor of Systematic Theology at Marquette University. His most recent publications include Theology and Culture (Cascade, 2007), Calculated Futures, and John Wesley’s Moral Theology: The Quest for God and Goodness.

George Kalantzis is Associate Professor of Theology at Wheaton College. His work has appeared in a number of scholarly journals. His recent books include Theodore of Mopsuestia: Commentary on the Gospel of John (2004) and the forthcoming co-edited volume, If These Stones Could Speak: Texts and Contexts.



Part One: God’s Sovereignty and Evangelical Theology
1. The Importance of the Conversation Concerning the Doctrine of Divine (Im)passibility: An Introduction to
     God’s Sovereignty and Evangelical Theology
     Jimmy Cooper
2. The Sovereignty of God and Divine Transcendence: Two Views from the Early Church
     George Kalantzis
3. Aquinas and God’s Sovereignty
     D. Stephen Long
4. John Calvin on Sovereignty
     Vincent Bacote
5. Divine Sovereignty in the Process Theological Tradition (with a little help from John Wesley)
     Michael Lodahl
6. ‘God’s Power Is God’s Goodness’: Some Notes on the Sovereignty of God in Jürgen Moltmann’s Theology
     Nancy Elizabeth Bedford
7. Divine Suffering in an Openness of God Perspective
     John Sanders
8. Suffering and the Sovereign Love of God: A Conclusion to God’s Sovereignty and Evangelical Theology
     Thomas G. Weinandy, OFM, Cap

Part Two: Responses
9. John Sanders
10. Nancy Elizabeth Bedford
11. Michael Lodahl
12. Vincent Bacote
13. D. Stephen Long
14. George Kalantzis


Endorsements and Reviews

Dante may have located the debate between divine sovereignty and human freedom in one of the circles of hell, but reading these sprightly and well-argued essays was, by contrast, a real pleasure. In an age where divine suffering is considered the ‘new orthodoxy,’ it is most refreshing to hear what six theologians have to say about divine sovereignty. The main theistic positions – classical, open, process – all have able representatives as their champions, and the inclusion of responses allows the authors to do more than talk past one another. This book lives up to its title.
Kevin J. Vanhoozer, Research Professor of Systematic Theology, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

… well-argued essays … a helpful introduction and summary of open theism, process theology and the perspective of Moltmann.
Lee Campbell, in Evangelicals Now

Implicitly recognising the imbalance of the Keating and White volume, one of its contributors, Paul Gavriluk, desires ‘a companion volume that would put [diverse contemporary] approaches [to divine passibility] in conversation with patristic theology’ (p.133), which is a neat description of precisely the volume by Long and Kalantzis. Their forum was a deliberate attempt to broaden the theological conversation at a Protestant seminary (p.vii) … the volume finishes with each of the six lecturers penning a ‘response’ to the other papers, enabling discussion to move forward … Another strength of this volume over that of Keating and White, is that, as reflected in the title, the editors recognise that the issue of passibility/impassibility soon raises the question of omnipotence.
Michael Brierly, in Modern Believing

True to the title, the volume reads like a respectful – but not muted – debate … each correspondent receives ample opportunity to present and defend his/her case and respond to fellow panellists.This makes for an enriching debate and dialogue.
Ashis Varma, in Theological Book Review, Vol 23, No 2

… Paul Gavrilyuk, desires ‘a companion volume that would put [diverse contemporary] approaches [to divine passibility] in conversation with patristic theology’ (p.133), which is a neat description of precisely the volume by Long and Kalantzis.
Michael Brierley, in Modern Believing, Vol 53, Issue 1