Historical Research

Open-Theism-Timeline-Tom-Lukashow_smallOpen Theism Timeline by Tom Lukashow

Tom Lukashow has compiled the following bibliography to demonstrate that extensive discussion (for and against) the Open view has taken place since the beginning of the seventeenth century. Other Open theists have noted that there is evidence that late fourth-century/early fifth-century Christian Calcidius espoused the Open view. [1]

[NOTE: Titles in black indicate works by Open theists. Titles in red, and indented, indicate works by opponents of the Open view]

Johannes Arnoldi Corvinus  (c.1582 – 1650). A pupil of Jacobus Arminius. In 1610 he signed the Five Articles of Remonstrance.

1642 – John Owen: A Display of Arminianism. Edmonton A.B. Still Waters Revival Books Reprint (1989) In Chapter III titled “Of the Prescience or Foreknowledge of God, and How it is Questioned and Overthrown by the Arminians” Owen wrote that “some learned men do from hence conclude, that certainly, in their most secret judgments, all the Arminians do concent with Socinus in ascribing unto God only a conjectural foreknowledge.” Owen quotes Conrad Vortius whom he considers a ”great prophet” of the Arminians  “That God, after his manner, oftentimes feareth, that is, suspecteth, and that not without cause, and prudently conjectureth, that this or that evil may arise”. Owen further quotes “their chiefest patriarchs” as believing “That God doth often intend what he doth not foresee will come to pass,” Armin., Corv. Footnote 3 includes the Latin and the source of the quote: Armin., Antip., pg. 667; Corv. Molin. Cap.v. sect 5. However, footnote 3 seems to include two different sources.  Also, he ascribes this quote to “their chiefest patriarchs” in the plural. It is confusing and difficult to know who to attribute it to. He again quotes Vorstius “God sometimes feareth, and prudently conjectureth, that this or that evil may arise” and Corvinus “God doth not always foresee the event of what he intended”. pp 22-30.

In later life it appears Vortius became a Socinian.

1871 – Charles Hodge in his Systematic Theology Vol. 1 London: James Clarke: (1960) wrote “The Socinians, however, and some of the Remonstrants, unable to reconcile this foreknowledge with human liberty, deny that free acts can be foreknown” pp. 399-400.

1892 - John Miley in his Systematic Theology Vol. 1. New York: Hunt & Eaton. (1892) concerning the theory of nescience wrote “The doctrine itself is not entirely new. Along the Christian centuries it occasionally appears in theological speculation. The earlier Socininianism openly avowed it. Some of the Remonstrants held the same view, though it does not appear with Arminius himself.” p. 181.

Unfortunately, Hodge and Miley fail to identify the Remonstrants who were open theists.

Augustus H. Strong acknowledged that the Socinians and some Ariminians denied God’s foreknowledge of free human actions.  See Augustus H. Strong Systematic Theology. Valley Forge. The Judson Press. (1907). pp.285,357.

1659 - Henry More (1614-1687): More, an English theologian and philosopher apparently found open theism to be a viable option. At Cambridge More was elected to a fellowship at Christ’s College. In is work The Immortality of the Soul. London. (1659)  he wrote:

“Fifthly, that the Praescience of God is so vast and exceeding the comprehension of our thoughts, that all that can be safely said of it is this. That this knowledge is most perfect and exquisite, accurately representing the natures, Powers and Properties of the thing it does foreknow. Whence it must follow, that if there be any creature free and undeterminate, and that is such circumstances and at such a time he manay either act thus or not act thus, this perfect, Fore-knowledge must discern from all eternity, that the said Creature in such circumstances may either act thus or so or not. And further to declare the perfection of this Foreknowledge and Omniscience of God; as His omnipotence ought to extend so far, as to be able to doe whatsoever implies no contradiction to be done; so his Praescience and Omniscience ought to extend so far, as to know precisely and fully whatever implies no contradiction to be

To conclude therefore briefly, Free or Contingent Effects do either imply a contradiction to be foreknown, or they do not imply it.  If they imply a contradiction to be foreknown,,, they are no object of the Omniscience of God and therefore there can be no pretence that his foreknowledge does determinate them, nor can they be argued to be determined thereby. If they imply no contradiction to be foreknown, that is to acknowledge that Divine Praescience and they may very well consist together.  And so either way, notwithstanding the divine omniscience, the Actions of men may be free.”

The above quotation taken from Henry More. The Immortality of the Soul. Edited by A. Jacobs. Dordrect. Martin Nijhoff (1987).

1727 – Samuel Fancourt: The Greatness Of The Divine Love Vindicated: In Three Letters. I. Concerning The Possibility Of Our Common Salvation. II. Concerning The Importance Of A Firm Belief Of It. III. Concerning God’s Absolute Decrees Of  The Actual Fall And Misery Of Men And Angels. London Printed For J. Chandler, At The Cross-Keys In The Poultry : And Sold By R. Ford At The Angel In The Poultry: And Edward Easton, Bookseller In New Sarum. 1727. 100 p.

1729 – Samuel Fancourt: The Greatness Of The Divine Love Vindicated: In Three Letters. I. Concerning The Possibility Of Our Common Salvation. II. Concerning The Importance Of A Firm Belief Of It. III. Concerning God’s Absolute Decrees Of The Actual Fall And Misery Of Men And Angels. And In A Discourse Upon I. John, iv, 9 With An Appendix About Original Sin. 2nd Edition. London, Printed For R. Ford…J Gray…And Sold By Edw. Easton. 1729.

1729 – Samuel Fancourt: An Essay Concerning Liberty, Grace, And Prescience. London, Printed for R. Ford; and J. Gray, 1729. 148 p.

1729 – Norman, John:  God’s Foreknowledge Of Contingent Events Vindicated: In a Letter To Samuel Fancourt, Occasion’d By His Late Essay On Liberty, Grace And Prescience.  London. 1729.

Anonymous: The Divine Prescience Of Free Contingent Events, Vindicated And Proved. In Answer To The Last Letters In Mr. Fancourt’s Essay Concerning Liberty, Grace, And Prescience. London, Printed For Richard Ford, At The Angel In The Poultry, Near Stocks-Market. 1729.

1730 – Samuel Fancourt: What Will Be, Must Be; Or, Future Contingencies No Contingencies. Or, A Short Review And Fair State Of The Points In Controversy. In a letter to the Reverend Mr. John Norman. Sarum: Printed by Charles Hooton; and sold by E. Easton and W. Collins, booksellers in Silver-street. Also by R. Ford at the angel, and J. Gray at the Cross-Keys in the Poultry, London. 1730. 44 p.

1730 – Samuel Fancourt: Apology: Or, A Letter To A Friend; Setting Forth The Occasion, Progress, And Importance Of The Present Controversy [Arising From The Publication Of His Book “The Greatness Of The Divine Love Exemplified,” Etc] Sarum, 1730. 41 p.

1730 – Bliss, Anthony: A Letter In Vindication Of God’s Prescience Of Contingencies, Upon The Principles Of Reason: Against The Objections Of Mr. Fancourt, In His Late Essay On Liberty, Grace And Prescience…London. J. Gray. 1730. 82p.

1730 – Norman, John: An Appendix To A Letter To The Rev. Mr. Fancourt In Vindication Of God’s Foreknowledge Of Contingent Events: Containing Animadversions Upon His Late Letter, Entitled “What Will Be, Must Be.” London. 1730. 60p.

1731 –  J. Greenup: A Vindication of Human Liberty in Two Parts. I. With Respect to the Mind’sBeing Pasive in Sensation, Reflection, Memory and the Last Judgment of Understanding. II. In Regard to God’s Prescience.  London. Printed for J. Roberts. (1731). Greenup argues that  predestination and necessity teach that God is the cause of all other causes and their effects which is the reason why God has prescience. Greenup contends that because God granted some creatures the power of agency he is more powerful than a God who predestines everything even though with the granting agents such power, he cannot know every simple and particular event which would happen in the use of that power. However, his omniscience is equal to that held by those believing in predestination because God can foreknow what he decrees.

1731 – Millar, David :  The Principles Of The Reformed Churches, And Particularly Of The Church Of England, Stated And Vindicated In Several Letters To Mr. Fancourt’s Friend…London.  1731. A. Millar. 143p.

1732 – Samuel Fancourt: An Appendix To A Letter To The Reverend Mr. Norman. In Two Parts. Shewing, First, That The Eternal Certainty Of Contingent Events Cannot Be Proved; But That The Contradiction To It Is True And Demonstrable. Secondly, That The Several Arguments, Whether From Reason Or Revelation, Offered By The Rev. Mr. Bliss, Mr. Norman, And The Nameless Author, In Defence Of It,Are Weak And Inconclusive. Second Edition. 1732.

1732 – Samuel Fancourt. The Greatness Of Divine Love Further Vindicated In Reply to Mr. Millar’s “Principles of the Reformed Churches”. 1732.

1732 – Millar, David : The Omniscience Of God, Stated And Vindicated; With A Full Answer To Mr. Fancourt’s Third Letter, And His Essay Concerning Prescience. In Several Letters to His Friend…London. A. Millar. 1732. 251p. 

1732 – Millar, David :  All Future Free Actions, Future Contingencies, With A Fair State Of The Question Concerning Prescience…With An Answer To Mr. Fancourt’s Letter And Appendix To Mr. Norman, And A Few Short Observations On His Late Reply…. London. A. Millar. 1732. 140p.

1732 – Anonymous contribution opposing Fancourt’s views of prescience under the heading “Of Necessity and Free Will” appeared in The Gentleman’s Magazine, July, 1732 p. 863 which was reprinted from the Grubstreet Journal, July 27. No. 134 No. 163. The contributor complains that there has been so much written lately by Fancourt, Miller, Norman, Bliss &c. that no one can comprehend it. However, the author is certain that neither God’s foreknowledge or man’s free will should be given up because certainty does not imply necessity.

1732 – Anonymous letter in defense of Fancourt’s views of prescience under the heading “God’s Prescience, and Man’s Free Will” appeared in The Gentleman’s Magazine. Number XX, August, 1732 p. 898. This letter was addressed to Mr. Bavius and originally appeared in the Grubstreet Journal August 10, No. 163 (sic). The author believed that whole controversy boils down to the question “Whether whatever is now certain, was ever certain?” The author concluded “what God infallibly knows, will be; the actions of Free Agents, whilst contingent, only may be; and therefore are no more the objects of such a Foreknowledge, than a square Circle is an object of Power. He that can foreknow the one, may, I presume, do the other.”  Appearing in the column opposite the above letter was another letter address to Mr. Bavius by Q.E. D. which originally appeared in the Grubstreet Journal August 17. No. 137. Q.E.D. argued that the certainty of an event happening does not imply it must necessarily happen.

1733 – Anonymous Supporter of Fancourt: The Free-Agency of Accountable Creatures Examined with Candour, and Defended in Several Letters: Being a Full Reply to the Most Material Objection.  London, Printed For J.Noon. 1733.  92p

1733 – Anonymous: The Certain Futurity Of Free Actions No Contradiction; Or God’s Foreknowledge Of Events Not Inconsistent With Human Liberty. A Letter Occasioned By A Pamphlet Entitled “Free-Agency Of Accountable Creatures Examined” London. 1733. 60p.

1733 – Burroughes, Joseph: God’s Foreknowledge of all Events, not inconsistent with Human Liberty. London, 1733. 203 p.

1735 – Millar, David : The Prescience Of God Well Agreeing With The Liberty Of Created Agents. Being A Full Answer To Mr. Fancourt’s Free Agency Of Accountable Creatures….London. A. Miller. 1735. 188 p.

Mr. Bavius:  Series of articles appearing in The Grub-Street Journal .

Mr. Elliot: Series of articles Articles in The Berington Evening Post.

1737 – J. T. (Should be P.T.) “Prescience and Liberty Inconsistent” in The Gentleman’s Magazine, March, 1737 pp. 143-144. J. T. argued that if God foreknew as an eternal truth that a man would chose to take the right road instead of the left road it must be an eternal falsehood that may choose not to take the right road. J. T. concluded “I think therefore ‘tis not only false, and evidently a Contradiction that the actions of Freedom and Agency are the Objects of Foreknowledge to the Deity, but ‘tis also dishonorable to God, and destructive of Religion and Morality.”

1737 – T.M.I. “Divine Prescience Not Inconsistent With Human; In Answer To J.T” in The Gentleman’s Magazine, April, 1737 pp. 203-204.T.M.I  contends that prescience does not compel the will of the agent one way or the other. He suggests that because an agent must act one way or another it is not absurd to suppose God knows which way he will act.

1737 – T.D. “Divine Prescience and The Liberty of Human Action Consistent” in The Gentleman’s Magazine, April, 1737 p. 207. T.D. argues had J.T. stated his proposition in terms of “what is now an eternal Truth, might have been an eternal Falsehood, and had an equal Chance to be so” it would be apparent that the argument was not conclusive respecting divine prescience and human liberty.

1737 – J. T. (Should be P. T.) “Defense of Liberty and Prescience Inconsistent” in The Gentleman’s Magazine, May, 1737. pp. 268-270. J.T.’s response to T.M.I. and T.D.

1737 – A Friend in Truth: “A Brief Vindication of Prescience” in The Gentleman’s Magazine, June, 1737 p. 339. Author primarily relies on scriptures such as Acts 15:18 which refer to God’s vast knowledge as sufficient evidence to support prescience.

1737 – T.D. “Divine Prescience and Human Liberty Consistent” in The Gentleman’s Magazine, June, 1737 pp.339-341.T.D. suggests the arguments advanced against God’s prescience are at least in part due to faulty definitions and semantics.

1737 – Isaac Thompson: “The Divine Prescience Vindicated” in The Gentleman’s Magazine, July, 1737 pp. 415-418. Thompson dispels the rumors he is J.T. who held that prescience is inconsistent with liberty. Thompson assumes God has genuine liberty but he must be prescient of his own actions so it cannot be said prescience and liberty are inconsistent.

1737 – G.G.G.: “A Few Propositions and Queries Concerning Prescience Proposed To Mr. P.T.’s Consideration” (See his Letters p. 268,143, Signed J.T. of Newcastele, which should have been P.T. of Norwich) in The Gentleman’s Magazine, July, 1737 pp. 418-419. In opposition to the arguments advanced by P.T., G.G.G. argues, inter alia, that in the case of choices, it would be difficult for P.T. to show motives are ever equal when presented to an agent. The Divine Mind can foresee the inequality of strength of motives and that the agent will be determined by the stronger motive.

1737 – Rusticus: In a letter to the editor of The Gentleman’s Magazine, August, 1737 p.502. Rusticus expresses concern that once there is a denial of God’s prescience a denial of God’s omnipotence and eternity will follow.

1738 – M.N. “Prescience Consistent with Liberty” in The Gentleman’s Magazine, January, 1738 pp. 21-23. M.N argues prescience does not imply necessity.

1738 – Philalethes I. “Things Absolutely Uncertain” in The Gentleman’s Magazine, April, 1738. pp. 188-190. Philalethes I suggests if an event is uncertain, God would be mistaken to know it as otherwise and argues “It is now a Truth, and cannot but be a Truth, that 100 Years hence a Murder of a certain Person will be an Event; But that Murder, supposing Liberty and Agency, may not be an Event; Therefore Liberty can’t be allowed, as its existence asserts this Contradiction, That what cannot but be true, may be false at one and the same Time. Thus, I think it appears that no Action, i.e.an Event depending on the will of an Agent, can be previously true, and therefore can’t be known to be true, what is known to be so being necessarily true, and consequently a necessary Event.”p.188.

1738 – Philalethes II. (Not to be confused with Philalethes I) in The Gentleman’s Magazine, April, 1738. pp. 190-191. Philalethes II evaluates the arguments advanced by M.N. supporting prescience and concludes human liberty and prescience are incompatible.

1738 – Isaac Thompson. “Letter Concerning Prescience” in The Gentleman’s Magazine, June,1738 pp. 290-292. Thompson reasserts his belief in prescience but expresses some disagreement with M.N. who also believes in prescience.

1738 – A Curate of Salop. “Upon Prescience” in Miscellaneous Correspondence: Essays, Dissertations, ect. On Various Subjects Sent to the Author of The Gentleman’s Magazine.London. Edward Cave. 1742. The author responds to Philalethes and argues there is no such thing as chance with respect to God’s knowledge. He suggests Philalethes submit to scriptures such as Proverbs 16.: 33 “The lot is cast unto the lap, but the whole disposing thereof is from the Lord.”

1738 – Isaac Thompson. “A Vindication of God’s Prescience Concerning Human Actions” in Miscellaneous Correspondence: Essays, Dissertations, ect. On Various Subjects Sent to the Author of The Gentleman’s Magazine.London. Edward Cave. 1742. pp.14-18.Thompson addresses the arguments advanced by Philalethes in support of open theism.

c1738 – M.N. “Upon Prescience” ” in Miscellaneous Correspondence: Essays, Dissertations, ect. On Various Subjects Sent to the Author of The Gentleman’s Magazine. London. Edward Cave. 1742. pp.18-21. M.N responds to Isaac Thompson and Philalethes. M.N. concludes “ I cannot perceive how the Divine Prescience of human Actions can be disputed without blaspheming and denying the Perfections of his Nature.” pp. 20-21.

1738 – J. Liptrot. “Prescience Defined” in The Gentleman’s Magazine, November,1738. p.593. Liptrot  believes Philalethes’ arguments are mistaken and believes he can clear up the matter by first defining “contingent truths” and “necessary truths.” Liptrot’s subsequently argues that copies of transcripts may exist in the mind before the original transcript exists. God may have copies in his mind that have little influence on the original.

1741 – (Anonymous) An Essay on the Divine Prescience , And Man’s Free-Agency, Delivered at A conference, in which a celebrated Doctor in Divinity was President, April 2, 1741. London: Printed for J. Noon. 24 p. Author argues that contingent actions cannot be certainly and infallibly foreknown by God from eternity.

1748 – Andrew (Chevalier) Ramsey (1761-1743). The Philosophical Principles of Natural and Revealed Religion, Unfolded in a Geometrical Order. Glasgow: Printed and sold by Robert Foulis. “I grant indeed that God foresees as infallibly future, what he absolutely wills and fore-ordains. But as he cannot will absolutely nor fore-ordain this sin and damnation of the creatures. He never foresees them as absolutely and infallibly future.”

1750 – Philotheochristus: An Essay Concderning Divine Prescience: or A Modest Enquiry, Whether All Things That Ever Should be In Time, Consider’d In Every State, Were. Certainly Foreknown to God From Eternity. In Which The Author’s Reasons For The Affirmative, are Humbly Proposed. London. W. Owen. 1750. The author explained the reason he wrote the work was because of repeated request of his friends to address an extensive controversy in the years past regarding on the subject of prescience in another part of the country from where he lived. Presumably, the author was referring to the controversy surrounding Fancourt’s publications.

1759 – Unfavorable review of An Essay on the Divine Prescience , And Man’s Free-Agency, Delivered at A conference, in which a celebrated Doctor in Divinity was President, April 2, 1741 in The Monthly Review or, Literary Journal. Vol. XXI pp. London 1759. 357-358.

1785 – “Of the Foreknowledge of God, extracted from a late author.” John Wesley published an extract in The Arminian Magazine (8) (pp. 27-29, 88-90,146-148) of pages 161-174 from Andrew Ramsey’s The Philosophical Principles of Natural and Revealed Religion, Unfolded in a Geometrical Order. : “Now to see in the nature of the creatures, or in his own eternal decrees, what is only contingent and possible, as infallibly future and inevitable, is a perfect contradiction. ”

1811 – Edward Pearson (1756-1811): Twelve Lectures on the Subject of the Prophecies Relating to the Christian Church; Being a Portion (8Th) of the Lectures Founded At Lincoln’S-Inn Chapel by the Late Bishop Warburton. London, Printed by R. Watts, Broxbourn and Sold by J. Hotchard, 1811. 595 p.“On the principles of reason it may be doubted whether God has a foreknowledge of those actions of his intelligent creatures in which they are free; and I am not aware of its being affirmed in Scripture that he has. On the contrary I am of opinion that such an affirmation implies what it would be impious to suppose in Scripture an evident contradiction; for it implies no less than that an event is at the same time both certain and uncertain” pp. 15,16. Pearson was Master of Sydney College, Cambridge and Christian Advocate in that university

1811 – A mixed review of Edward Pearson’s Twelve Lectures on the Subject of the Prophecies.. appeared in The AntiJacobin Review and True Churchman’s Magazine Vol. XL (1811) pp.52-72. This review includes several extracts from Pearson’s book on the topic of foreknowledge.

1818 – Adam Clarke. Commentary on the Bible. Comment on Acts 2:47 reads in part:

“God is omniscient, and can know all things; but does it follow from this that he must know all things? Is he not free in the volitions of his wisdom, as he is in the volitions of his power? The contingent as absolute, or the absolute as contingent? God has ordained some things as absolutely certain; these he knows as absolutely certain. He has ordained other things as contingent; these he knows as contingent. It would be absurd to say that he foreknows a thing as only contingent which he has made absolutely certain. And it would be absurd to say that he foreknows a thing to be absolutely certain which in his own eternal counsel he has made contingent….I conclude that God, although omniscient, in consequence of this, to know all that he can know; no more than he is obliged, because he is omnipotent, to do all he can do.”

1818 – A Constant Reader “On The Foreknowledge of God.” An excerpt form Adam Clarke’s comment on Acts 2:47 was reproduced in The Evangelical Magazine and Missionary Chronicle: June, 1818 vol. XXVI pp. 234-235.

1818 – A negative two part editorial response to Adam Clarke’s comment on Acts 2:47 in The Evangelical Magazine and Missionary Chronicle: June, 1818 vol. XXVI pp. 235-238. July,1818 pp. 288-291. (Part three of the article appeared in the February,1819 issue).

1818 – Verax:  A Letter to the Rev George Burder, Editor of the Evangelical Magazine in Answer to Observations, contained in the Magazines of June and July 1818, on Dr. Adam Clarke’s Remarks on the Foreknowledge of God. Kaygill,1818. 79 pages. (A defense of Clarke).

1819 – Two part negative review of  Verax’s A Letter to the Rev George Burder, Editor of the Evangelical Magazine in Answer to Observations, contained in the Magazines of June and July 1818, on Dr. Adam Clarke’s Remarks on the Foreknowledge of God in The Evangelical Magazine and Missionary Chronicle: January,1818 vol. XXVII pp. 23-25, February, 1818 pp. 45-49.

1819 – “Concluding Observations on Dr. Clarke’s Views on the Foreknowledge of God” in The Evangelical Magazine and Missionary Chronicle: vol. XXVII, February, 1818 pp. 49-50.

1819 – Gill Timms: Remarks on the Foreknowledge of God Suggested By Passages In Dr. Adam Clarke’s Commentary On The New Testament (1819) Printed for the Author By J. Haddon, Tabernacle Walk. 99 p.

1819 – A favorable review of Gill Timms’ book “Remarks on the Foreknowledge of God Suggested By Passages In Dr. Adam Clarke’s Commentary On The New Testament appeared in The new Evangelical Magazine and Theological Review. Vol. 5. 1819. pp. 319-320.

1820 – A favorable review of Gill Timms’ book Remarks on the Foreknowledge of God Suggested By Passages In Dr. Adam Clarke’s Commentary On The New Testament appeared in The Eclectic Review : July-December, 1820 Vol. XIV pp. 382-387.

1820 – A favorable review of Gill Timms’ book Remarks on the Foreknowledge of God Suggested By Passages In Dr. Adam Clarke’s Commentary On The New Testament appeared in The Evangelical Magazine and Missionary Chronicle: 1820 vol. XXVIII  pp. 470-471.

1820 – A favorable review of Gill Timms’ book Remarks on the Foreknowledge of God Suggested By Passages In Dr. Adam Clarke’s Commentary On The New Testament appeared in The Baptist Magazine 1820 vol. XII pp.114-115. The reviewer commented “The more sensible Pelagians and Arminians have always been aware that the divine predetermination and prescience must stand or fall together, and have therefore denied both” The reviewer then cites early Arminians in support of his assertion.

1820 – James Bromley: An Essay on Divine Prescience or, The Foreknowledge of God Viewed In Connection with The Liberty of Man In His Moral Action. London  (1820). J. Blanshard. This book was suppressed by the Methodists.  Bromley asserts the following propositions: 1. That the great God knows all things. 2. That for any being to know what will be the result of an absolute contingency, involves a contradiction, and is, in the nature of things, absolutely impossible. 3. That these two positions are in perfect consistence and harmony with each other. 4. That there are contingencies, and that actions morally good or evil are such.

1820 – A lengthy negative review of James Bromley’s book Divine Prescience appeared in the Wesleyan-Methodist Magazine Vol. 43 (1820). pp.345-358,420-439.

1820 – A favorable review of James Bromley’s book Divine Prescience appeared in The Imperial Magazine; and Monthly Record of Religious, Philosophical, Historical, Biographical, Topographical and General Knowledge.1820. pp. 165-174.

1820 – “Z”: A short negative appraisal of James Bromley’s views as expressed in Divine Prescience appeared titled “Remarks on Bromley on the Divine Prescience” in The Imperial Magazine; and Monthly Record of Religious, Philosophical, Historical, Biographical, Topographical and General Knowledge.1820. pp. 273-274. Z argues that based on Ephesian 1:4 & 3:11 God must have foreknown the fate of Adam and Christ’s mission into the world.

1820 – “B”: Another negative appraisal of James Bromley’s views as expressed in Divine Prescience titled “On the Divine Prescience” appeared in two consecutive parts in The Imperial Magazine; and Monthly Record of Religious, Philosophical, Historical, Biographical, Topographical and General Knowledge.1820. pp. 835-839.

1820 – “A”: “On the Prescience of God” in The Imperial Magazine; and Monthly Record of Religious, Philosophical, Historical, Biographical, Topographical and General Knowledge.1820. pp. 839-841. “A” contends that it was God’s purpose that Adam should remain in a state of holiness and Adam’s continuance or non-continuance in holiness could only be foreseen as possible.

1821 – Nathaniel Emmons: A Sermon on the Foreknowledge of God. Middletown. E. Clark. 1821. 20 p. Emmons argues for exhaustive definite foreknowledge but acknowledges that “This has been considered as a very difficult question to solve. Some presume to deny the foreknowledge of God, in order to avoid what they perceive to be the natural and necessary consequence of it.” p. 7.

1822 - A Favorable review of Gill Timms’ book “Remarks on the Foreknowledge of God Suggested By Passages In Dr. Adam Clarke’s Commentary On The New Testament appeared in The Investigator; or Quarterly Magazine: January and April, 1822. Vol. IV pp. 143-144.

1823 – “D”: “Thoughts on the Divine Prescience” in The Imperial Magazine; and Monthly Record of Religious, Philosophical, Historical, Biographical, Topographical and General Knowledge. Vol. 5.1823. pp. 975-978. “D” appeals to the eternal now concept to account for God’s foreknowledge.

1824 – “Metaphysician”: “Remarks on ‘Thoughts on the Divine Prescience.’” in The Imperial Magazine; and Monthly Record of Religious, Philosophical, Historical, Biographical, Topographical and General Knowledge. Vol. 6.1824. pp.229-231. “Metaphysician” replies to “D’s” essay “Thoughts on the Divine Prescience” which appeared in the vol. 5 1823 issue at pp. 925-978. Metaphysician wrote,

“I will venture to suggest, that he, who, when speaking of the Divine Prescience, represents it as the fixed and certain knowledge of a contingent and uncertain result, speaks on the sublime attribute of Diety, in the language of contradiction and absurdity.” P. 230.

1825 – John Briggs (1788-1824). The Remains of John Briggs (1825). Includes essays on the Origin of Evil and The Foreknowledge of God).

“But if man had a perfectly free will, so that he could see as he thought, how could the Almighty foresee what the result of man’s free will would be; for an action before it is committed, is not an action: and thought before the mind gives it being, is a perfect nothing; and if we have power to make them thoughts as we choose, The Deity cannot foresee them….But the Scriptures confirm this idea, that God cannot foresee whether we shall be wicked or good:..” pp. 326-327.

1826 – Samuel K. Jennings: An Exposition of the Late Controversy in the Methodist Episcopal Church;….Baltimore: John J. Harrod (1831) 247 p. Chapter XIX contains miscellaneous comments by a Dissenter including one originally published in 1826 complaining that,

“The absolute omniscience of God, is another doctrine of Methodism, as it is of the bible; and yet, I have frequently listened to Methodist preachers, trying to demonstrate that the prescience of Diety is only contingent,-that he could, but does not know everything.” p. 170.

1828 – James Jones: An Inquiry Regarding The Popular Notion of An Unoriginated , Infinite , And Eternal Prescience. London (1828). W. Baynes. 203 pages. An influential  early 19th century work by an open theist that was suppressed by the Methodist conference. Jones aggressively attacks the idea of an eternal prescience with philosophical and scriptural arguments and contends the “doctrine of an eternal prescience is undoubtedly of heathen origin, from whence it has been imported into theological systems of Christian divines:”

1828 – Clarke quoted and views disapproved of in The Evangelical Magazine and Missionary Chronicle (1828) Vol 10. pp. 234-238,288-291.

1828 – Unfavorable review of James Jones’ book “An Inquiry Regarding The Popular Notion of An Unoriginated , Infinite, And Eternal Prescience” appeared in The Imperial Magazine or Compendium of Religious, Moral, And Philosophical Knowledge; (1828) London  Vol 10. pp.355-363.

1828 – Onesimus: “Defence of a Letter To Dr. Adam Clarke, Being A Reply To The ‘Observations’ of Euphronius.” The Imperial Magazine or Conpendium of Religious, Moral, And Philosophical Knowledge; (1828). London. Vol 10. pp.604-612.

1829 – James Jones:  Moral Freedom and Divine Benevolence. A Letter Addressed to the Rev. Jabez Bunting, M.A. President of The Methodist Conference, For the Purpose of Shewing, That in Many Respects , the Vulgar and Popular Theology of that Body is in Open Hostility Against Their Official and Authorized Creed; and Especially so, in Relation to the Predestinarian Doctrine of an ABSOLUTE FOREKNOWLEDGE; Or, in Other words, the Vulgar and Popular Notion of AN UNORIGINATED , INFINITE , AND ETERNAL PRESCIENCE. Margate: R. Osborne (1829.) 68 p. Jones contends that the contraband theology of Calvinism has corrupted Wesleyan theology. Jones suggests John Wesley did not believe in eternal prescience and argues that Methodism should not officially adopt the doctrine of eternal prescience.

1830 – Jon Bonsall: Essay on the Attribute of Knowledge in God, Considered on the Grounds of Both Reason and Revelation. Dublin  (1830). 17p. Bonsall argues that the common understanding of omniscience leads to atheism and other absurdities. God can foreknow whatever he decrees and can foresee the probable, but not certain, conduct of nations and individuals.

1830 – Anonymous article titled A Dissertation on the Divine Knowledge  appeared in The Imperial Magazine or Compendium of Religious, Moral, And Philosophical Knowledge; (1830) London.  Vol 12. pp. 413-419. The author contends that it not an imperfection in God’s knowledge not to know the results of “absolute contingencies.”

1831 – Adam Clarke: Discourses On Various Subjects Relative to the Being and Attributes of God. Vol II. New York. M’Elrath & Bangs. (1831).

“He knows Himself, and what He has formed, and what He can do; but is not necessitated to know as certain what he Himself has made contingent. If God must continually act, because he is omnipotent, and know because He is omniscient, then does not this imply that He must be constantly employed in doing or undoing whatever is possible to be done or undone; and knowing all this, and all that can be, and what cannot be? Is this not absurd?”

1834 – Richard Dillon. Prevailing Religious And Philosophical Opinions Investigated. Third Edition, Enlarged. London R. Hunter (1834). “The foreknowledge of God may be limited so far as regards the future will or private conduct of an individual..”

1834 – S.P.S.: “Divine Foreknowledge.” Baltimore Southern Pioneer And Richmond Gospel Visiter. Vol IV December 20, 1834. PP 70-71.  In this article S.P.S., a Congregational chaplain,  complains that “…[The Rev.] Mr. Hamet, and the Methodists in Virginia, generally, I am told deny the foreknowledge of God!”

1834 – Steven Bovall: “Divine Foreknowledge” in The Presbyterian Preacher Vol II. December, 1833. pp. 289-304. Bovall argues for exhaustive definite foreknowledge but acknowledges “We are well aware, that in view of this doctrine, many serious persons are perplexed with great difficulties, and some have not only doubted the truth of the doctrine of divine foreknowledge, but flatly contradicted it and denied it.” p. 291.

1839 – Robert Bartley: Short Essays in Verse on Foreknowledge and Predestination;.. London Harvey and Darton. (1839). 133p. “That the doctrine of eternal foreknowledge and decree, in reference to the fall of man,-is repugnant to human reason,- to moral responsibility,-to divine benevolence,-and the testimony of the word of God.” p.1. Bartley acknowledges his indebtedness to the works of James Jones and Adam Clarke.

1843 – Billy Hibbard. Memoirs of the Life and Travels of B. Hibbard, 2nd edition (New York: for the author,1843). 474p.  In the 2nd edition of his Memoirs Hibbard included an appendix, which was absent from the 1st edition of the Memoirs published in 1825, that included an excerpt from Ramsey’s book that Wesley published in the Arminian Magazine in 1875 (pp. 37-376). However, It is possible Hibbard took this excerpt from James Jones’ book  …Eternal Prescience book in which Hibbard also reproduced the Ramsey excerpt in a footnote on pp. xvi-xvii from the Prefatory Dialogue. Following the Ramsey excerpt, Hibbard reproduces a portion of chapter 1 of Jones’. .. Eternal Prescience book without identifying the source of the excerpt.

Hibbard was an early Methodist circuit rider.

1844 – John Wesley Thomas (1798-1872): Nescience Versus Prescience: A Poetical Review of “ An Inquiry Regarding The Popular Notion of An Unoriginated , Infinite , And Eternal Prescience.” With Illustrative Notes, And An Appendix By Anti-Empiricus. 24 p. London: Mason (1844).

1844 – Favorable review of Wesley Thomas’ Nescience Versus Prescience appeared in the Wesleyan Methodist Magazine (67) 1844. p. 408.

1844 – James Anderson: Strictures on Arminian Methodism. Lancaster: J.R. Dixon pp. 18-19. Author apparently complains about the number of early American preachers who embraced Adam Clarke’s view that God voluntarily sets aside his prescience. See Randy Maddox “Seeking a Response-able God: The Wesleyan Tradition and Process Theology” p. 128 in Thy Nature & Thy Name Is Love.  Ed. By Stone and Oord. Kinswood Books: 2001.

1846 – Joseph Barker. The Christian Vol. II. London. Chapman (1846). pp.100-101.  Includes Barker’s thoughts on “Foreknowledge” in which he is in substantial agreement with the views expressed by Jon Bonsall in Essay on the Attribute of Knowledge in God, Considered on the Grounds of Both Reason and Revelation (1830). “ And it seems very plain and certain,  that if the generally received doctrine of foreknowledge maintains its grounds, it must either lead to Calvinism on the one side , or to universal restoration on the other . But Calvinism seems too horrible and unnatural to prevail amongst generations of thinkers , and universalism and necessarianism appear foundationless. I see nothing, therefore on the subject, for generations to come, but that perfect freedom and that common –sense accountability resulting from the principles laid down in this review.”

1847 – Anonymous article titled “The Divine Prescience Not Inconsistent With The Free Agency Of Man” appeared in The Quarterly Review of The Episcopal Church, South Vol. 1, No. II. April, 1847. pp. 161-175.  “The supposition that God cannot know future contingencies, or that he chooses not to, is absurd, and stands opposed by every line of prophecy in his revealed word. There is no need of any evasions in determining this important enquiry.”

1849 – Anonymous “God’s Foreknowledge Compatible with Man’s Free Agency” in The Methodist New Connexion Magazine. January, 1849. pp. 117-122. Author maintains God knows with absolute certainty the actions and destinies of voluntary agents but acknowledges that “great names” have held a contrary view. Primarily engages the ideas advanced by Adam Clarke.

1866 – William Robinson (1804-1873): Biblical Studies. London:  Longmans Green, and Co. 1866. 356p. Includes a Chapter on Divine Foreknowledge advocating open theism. pp.139-159. According to Robinson “Scripture nowhere affirms the popular view of divine foreknowledge.” p. 151. Robinson was the minister of St. Andrew’s Baptist Chapel in Cambridge from 1851 to 1874. He became chairman of the Baptist Union in 1870.

c1867 – James Morison a prominent 19th century Arminian, founder of the Evangelical Union denomination in Scotland, founding editor of The Evangelical Repository: A Quarterly Magazine of Theological Literature, and author of the well received book “An Exposition of the Ninth Chapter of the Epistle to the Romans” (1888).

1868 – William Taylor : The Election of Grace (1868) Prominent Methodist missionary. The Election of Grace includes two chapters on the subject of foreknowledge. “God hath a perfect knowledge of all existing things, however remote or minute; but the unborn acts of the human will are not existing things as yet.” Taylor University in Indiana is named after William Taylor.

1869 – G.J.S. favorably reviewed William Taylor’s book The Election of Grace in The Bible Christian Magazine for the Year 1868. Being A Continuation of the Arminian Magazine.Vol. IV. Fourth Series. London. G.J. Stevenson For The Bible Christian Book Committee. Pp.560-561. “Mr. Taylor’s book is a very valuable contribution to our dogmatical literature, and we sincerely hope it will be the means of rescuing multitudes from the terrible delusion of the ‘horrible decrees.’ ” p. 561. Although Taylor’s position on foreknowledge was not specifically addressed, the reviewer wrote nothing suggesting Taylor was advancing heretical ideas.

1689 – Short review of William Taylor’s The Election of Grace in The London Quarterly Review Vol. XXXII. 1869. p. 260. “Clear, homely, vigorous, and popular like all the author’s previous works. We cannot, however, accept his conclusions respecting the prescience of God. Opposed as they are to the catholic orthodoxy.”

1869 – A favorable book review of William Taylor’s book The Election of Grace in The Sunday Teacher’s Treasury. London. William Macintosh. pp. 36-37. Taylor’s position on foreknowledge was not specifically addressed, however the reviewer suggestsmany Christians may find they agree with the positions advanced in his book.

1869 –  The Evangelical Repository: A Quarterly Magazine of Theological Literature. Fourth Series Vol. IV Glasgow Fourth Series vol. III (1869) pp. 307-308 includes a question and answer section addressing questions regarding the extent of God’s foreknowledge concluding God knows what his free-will creatures will do and finding there is nothing to be gained by thinking the contrary.

1870 – R.K.: “Divine Foreknowledge-A Critique:” in The Evangelical Repository: A Quarterly Magazine of Theological Literature. Fourth Series Vol. IV Glasgow. (1870) pp. 211-216. In this article R.K. responds to the view that “God does not know everything before it comes to pass.” Article was apparently written to views held by James Morison who the founding editor of the The Evangelical Repository and founder of the Evangelical Union Denomination.

1870 – Editorial comments on the question “Is God’s Foreknowledge Finite?” in The Evangelical Repository: A Quarterly Magazine of Theological Literature. Fourth Series Vol. IV Glascow. (1870) pp. 220-226.

“We must confess that we are somewhat surprised that anyone is duly impressed with the all-comprehending  infinitude of the divine perfections should question the extent of of Jehovah’s knowledge, or take up the position that the future contingent actions of moral beings are unknown to him.”

However, later in the article the author advances an unusual position that,

“The actions, sinful or virtuous, of free responsible agents, do really elicit, or afford materials to, God’s previous foreknowledge; so that if these moral beings will, at any time, change from vice to virtue , or from virtue to vice, they may be sure of a corresponding change in God’s eternal foreknowledge , as caused by that transition”

1870 – William Antliff: Lectures on Various Subjects. London. Primitive Methodist Book Room (1870). In Chapter 4 titled “The Foreknowledge of God” Antliff addresses and rejects the views of Andrew Ramsey, Adam Clarke and those who posit the idea that foreknowledge of contingent events is impossible. pp.14-16.

1871The Evangelical Repository: A Quarterly Magazine of Theological Literature. Fifth Series Vol. I Glascow. (1871).pp. 54-57. Letter to the editor On “Divine Foreknowledge”  by An Inquirer  suggesting that it is an absolute impossibility in the nature of things , that God could foreknow what the actions of would be , before he had decreed in his own mind that he should create men. The editor responded, inter alia, that God must of known from all eternity what he would decree.

1874 – T.W. Brents (1823-1905).  The Gospel Plan of Salvation. Cincinnati : Bosworth, Chase & Hall. (1874). Numerous reprints. Chapter IV is titled “The Foreknowledge of God.” Brents wrote “Now, allowing the doctrine of the contingency  of human action (and it must be allowed in order to shun the above absurdities and blasphemies), then we see every accountable creature accountable for its own works, and for the use it makes of the power with which God has endued it; and, to grant all this consistently, we must also grant that God foresees nothing as absolutely and inevitably certain which he has made contingent; and because he has designed it to be contingent, therefore he cannot know it absolutely and inevitably certain.” p. 86.

1874 – J.M Baker: Explanation of the Foreknowledge of God. (Saint Louis. Southwestern Book and Publishing Company. (1874). 77p. Brief critical review of Ramsey’s view of foreknowledge and of “those divines who suppose that it is impossible for God to foreknow contingent or free actions, and that, God has no such foreknowledge of such actions” pp 16-24.

1874. Hans Lassen Martensen (1808-1884): Lutheran theologian and Bishop of Zealand (Seeland) Denmark. Author of Christian Dogmatics. Edinburgh. T & T Clark. 1874. 502 p.

“The final goal of this world’s development, together with the entire series of its essentially necessary stages, must be regarded as fixed in the eternal counsel of God; but the practical carrying out of this eternal counsel, the entire fullness of actual limitations on the part of this world’s program, in so far as these are conditioned by the freedom of the creature, can only be the subject of a conditional foreknowledge; i.e., they can only be foreknown as possibilities, as Futurabilia, but not as realities,because other possibilities may actually take place.” p. 219.

1875 – J.P. LaCroix: “Rothe on the Limitations of Divine Foreknowledge.” The Bibliotheca Sacra and Theological Eclectic. Vol. XXXII p. 137-160. (1875). Author was a professor at Wesleyan University in Ohio. In this article, In addition making his own arguments in support of dynamic omniscience, LaCroix presents “a careful but condensed translation from the revised edition of (Richard) Rothe’s master-work, Theological Ethics.” Richard Rothe (1799-1867) was a German theologian. He studied under G. W. F. Hegel. Rothe taught at Wittenberg theological seminary, the University of Bonn and at Heidelberg. Of Rothe’s treatment of the subject of foreknowledge LaCroix wrote “ No one, as far as we know, has presented the view of the divine non-foreknowledge of the actions of free creatures with more cogency and earnestness than the late lamented Richard Rothe.”

1877 –  J.M. A pro Open theist article by “The Knowledge of God in Relation to the Future” appeared in The Evangelical Repository: A Quarterly Magazine of Theological Literature. Sixth series Vol. III Glascow. (1877)pp. 205-218.

The contrary position was argued in the same issue of The Evangelical Repository..  by R.M.  with the same title “The Knowledge of God in Relation to the Future” pp. 260-273.

1877 – William Cooke. The Diety: An Argument On the Existence, Attributes, And Personal Distinctions of The Godhead. London. Hamilton, Adams & Co. (1877). In Chapter VIII, Section III titled “The Divine Prescience and Human Freedom Are In Accordance With Reason.” Cooke criticizes Adam Clarke’s view of foreknowledge but acknowledges that Aristotle and Clarke “have had not a few followers.” p. 299.

1878 – A negative appraisal of William Taylor’s views regarding God’s foreknowledge appeared under the Heading “Foreknowledge” in The Evangelical Repository: A Quarterly Magazine of Theological Literature. Sixth series Vol. III Glascow. (1878) pp. 308-311.

1878 – L. D. McCabe: The Foreknowledge of God and Cognate Themes in Philosophy and Theology. Cincinnati: Published by Hitchcock & Walden for the Author (1878). 464p. Lorenzo Dow McCabe was a professor and acting president at Ohio Wesleyan University and undoubtedly the towering figure advancing dynamic omniscience in the 19th century.  In the thirty chapters in McCabe surveys they numerous difficulties with the commonly accepted idea of Divine foreknowledge. McCabe suggests that “God’s specific plans for free men are flexible. They are conditioned on the conduct of men” P. 64.

1878 – Negative book review of McCabe’s Foreknowledge of God originally appearing in the California Christian Advocate was reprinted in the National Repository, Devoted to General Religious Literature, Criticism, And Art. Vol. IV. 1878. p.568Daniel Curry, D.D., Editor. Editorial comment indicates the review expresses the editor’s own views. The reviewer concludes McCabe finds a conflict where none exists because God is in an eternal now. (Note: Daniel Curry may have later become an Open theist. Further investigation required).

1879 – Negative book review of McCabe’s book The Foreknowledge of God appeared in the Methodist Quarterly Review January 1879. pp. 162-166. Reviewer believes McCabe will regret writing his book. The issues raised by McCabe should remain unspoken until the hour the celestial light pours into recipient’s understanding.

1879 – Thomas Crompton (1817-1886) Canadian Primitive Methodist Theological professor and pastor authored a two part essay titled “Divine Foreknowledge, Moral Agency, And The Contingency of Salvation” which appeared in the Primitive Methodist Quarterly Review Vol. 1. Part I was published in October 1879. pp. 645-656. Part 2 appeared in Vol 2. (1880). Pp. 309-322). Concerning moral agents Crompton contends

“…[God] has endowed with the powers of self-originating, self-directing, and contingent action, and to them, in the order of His all-wise, creative economy, He has assigned a distinct sphere of free, voluntary, contingent agency. God cannot consistently absorb within His own sphere of operation the assigned spheres of agency He Himself has appointed to beings that are the product of His creating power, and whom He has made what they are, with their morally-contingent capabilities and responsibilities.” Crompton asks the question “Of these events, so contingently uncertain in their very nature, how can these have been an eternally foreknown certainty?”

Crompton’s article mentioned in The Methodist New Connexion Magazine And Evangelical Repository, Vol. XLVII, Third Series pp. 740. London  (1879).

1879 – J. A. (J. Atkinson) The Evangelical Repository: A Quarterly Magazine of Theological Literature. Seventh Series Vol. I. Glascow. (1879) pp. 193-200. J.A. contends God can know future contingent events. Adopts the eternal now view.

1879 – Editorial comment on the question to the editor regarding why it should be considered a limitation on God to say he cannot foresee future contingent events in The Evangelical Repository: A Quarterly Magazine of Theological Literature. Seventh Series Vol. I. Glascow. (1879) pp.213-215. The editor concludes there is nothing in the nature of a contingent event that makes it unknowable to God.

1880 – Wright, Uberto: A Review of Dr. T.W. Brents On The Foreknowledge Of God. (1880). Published for the Author 30 p.

1882 – L.D. McCabe: Divine Nescience of Future Contingencies A Necessity, Being An Introduction To “The Foreknowledge of God and Cognate Themes”. New York: Published By Phillips and Hunt, For the Author (1882). 306p. McCabe takes a more philosophical approach than in his former work by advancing his thesis that only by adopting Divine Nescience is it possible to solve otherwise insurmountable  logical and metaphysical problems .

1883 – Daniel Whedon reviewed McCabe’s book Divine Nescience of Future Contingencies in the Methodist Quarterly Review.  January 1883. pp. 176-177. Whedon points out that McCabes ideas are not new to Methodism but Methodism has repeatedly rejected such views. Rather than address McCabe’s arguments Whedon refers his readers to his book The Freedom of the Will where he devoted nearly thirty pages to reconciling prescience and freedom.

1883 – Wm. Henry Cobb: “Recent Theories of the Divine Foreknowledge.”  Bibliotheca Sacra, Volume 40 Oct. 1883. pp. 655-694. Cobb examines the views of Richard Rothe, Isaak Dorner and L.D. McCabe. Cobb attempts to make the scriptural case against the views of Rothe and McCabe who argued that God cannot know the future free action of free agents. Cobb recedes from his previous view that Dorner held that God cannot know the contingent except as contingent because his writings are too too ambiguous to conclusively determine his position.

1883 – Isaiah Kephart was prominent professor in the Church of United Brethren of Christ. From 1889 until his death in 1908 he was the editor of the denominational periodical Religious Telescope . In June, 1883 Professor Kephart published the first of several articles  on the “freedom of the will” in Wilford’s Microcosm: The Organ of the Substantial Philosophy, A religio-scientific monthly magazine, devoted to the discoveries, theories, and investigations of modern science in their bearing upon the religious thought of the age, with other matters of general interest.“ This series of articles, and an article by Timothy Williston titled “Thoughts Respecting the Eternal I AM-No.2 “ precipitated an extended debate about God’s foreknowledge. Kephart argued for the “Open theism” position. Most of the opposing articles were written by Williston.

1883 – I.L. Kephart: “The Freedom of The Will” Wilford’s Microcosm.Vol. II. June, 1883 pp.322-323. This article does not include a discussion of foreknowledge.

1883 – T. Williston: titled “Thoughts Respecting the Eternal I AM-No.2.  “Wilford’s Microcosm. Vol. II. June, 1883. pp.325-327. In this article Kephart challenges the views that God chooses not to know the future or cannot know the future.

1883 – I.L. Kephart: “The Freedom of The Will-No. 2” Wilford’s Microcosm. Vol.II. July, 1883 pp.357-358. This article does not include a discussion of foreknowledge.

1883 – I.L. Kephart: “The Freedom of The Will-No. 3” Wilford’s Microcosm. Vol. III. August, 1883 pp. 3-4. Although this article does not include a discussion of foreknowledge, Kephart quotes L.D. McCabe from his book Divine Nescience.

1883 – I.W. Bates, D.D. : “Creation and Foreknowledge” Wilford’s Microcosm. Vol. III. August, 1883 p.19.  In a letter to the editor Bates challenges Williston’s views on foreknowledge.

“I think he fails to show how the risk of a venture in creating the fallen angels and Adam without foreseeing that they would deprave their natures and become sinners, would be greater than the risk in creating them with the full knowledge that they would not keep their first estate. Nor does it make it clear why Deity should allow Cain, Judas, Voltaire and Paine to come into being with full knowledge of the results of their lives, and not allow them to come into being without foreseeing the result of their lives. Wherein is the advantage of the certainty of failure over the uncertainty of failure?”

1883 – I.L. Kephart: “The Freedom of The Will And Certainty” Wilford’s Microcosm. Vol.III. September, 1883 pp.37-38. Kephart asks, “.. how can even the Omniscient one know, as a certainty that which is at the time is necessarily and absolutely, not a certainty?” Kephart concludes that “…the freedom of the will and the certainty of the choices and acts of probationers are necessarily and absolutely incompatible.”

1883 – I.L. Kephart: “The Freedom of The Will And Foreknowledge” Wilford’s Microcosm. Vol.III. October, 1883 pp.73-74. Kephart argues that one must conclude the dogma of absolute foreknowledge is false.

“The teaching that God voluntarily brings into existence human souls, knowing certainly, and beyond the possibility of its being otherwise, that they will writhe in hell forever, has made and is now making more infidels than all the books that Paine, Voltaire and the whole infidel hoard have ever written; and until the churches so change their theologies as to rid them of this damming blot they might almost as well close their doors.”

Announcement that in the next month Williston will commence a series a papers regarding harmonizing the existence of sin and God’s foreknowledge  conflicting with the papers submitted by Kephart. Wilford’s Microcosm. Vol.III. October, 1883 p.83

Announcement that the announcement made the previous month regarding the publication of papers by Williston has been delayed by mutual agreement. The papers will begin the following month. Wilford’s Microcosm. Vol.III. November, 1883 p.128.

1883 – T. Williston: “Sin Not An Unlooked-For Intruder,But Embraced In The Creator’s ‘Eternal Purpose.’” Wilford’s Microcosm. Vol.III.  December, 1883 p.130-132. Williston argues that the entrance of sin into the world was part of God’s eternal purpose to effectuate a higher amount of good.

1884 – Timothy Williston: Orthodox Paths Retraced, or The Old Theology, (New York. Microcosm Publishing Co. (1884). 341p. Includes a chapter titled False Conceptions of God with sub-headings The Nescience Theory Refuted & The Unlimited Foreknowledge of God pp. 87-137.

1884 – T. Williston: “The Objections Of Rev. Dr. McCabe And Others To The Unlimited Foreknowledge Of God: Are They Well-Founded?” Wilford’s Microcosm. Vol.III.  February, 1884 p.202-204. Williston addresses arguments advanced by McCabe in Divine Nescience.

1884 – T. Williston: “God’s Eternal Certainty Is Not Man’s Helpless Necessity; Or The Objection That God’s Foreknowing An Act Renders it Unavoidable, Proved False.” Wilford’s Microcosm. Vol.III.  March, 1884 pp.229-230.

1884 – H.W. Clarke: “Foreknowledge And Forordination. ” Wilford’s Microcosm. Vol.III.  March, 1884 p.231. In this letter to the editor Clarke disapproves of those who would limit God’s foreknowledge and posits the “eternal now” concept to account for God’s knowledge of all events.

1884 – I.L. Kephart: “The Origin of Sin.” Wilford’s Microcosm. Vol.III.  March, 1884 pp.240-241. Kephart argues that when God created moral agent He saw all possibilities involved including sin. Kephart acknowledges that God utilizes sin “to bring about the greatest possible good consistent with the existence of sin; but that still greater good would not have been brought about had sin never had an existence, than is brought about in spite of its existence, is an absurdity that is simply astounding.”

1884 – John M. Patton: “Free Agency and Foreknowledge. ” Wilford’s Microcosm. Vol.III.  May, 1884 pp.295-298. Patton disapproves of McCabe and Kephart and argues God foresaw all evil resulting from moral agency.

1884 – T. Williston: “God’s Eternal Certainty Is Not Man’s Helpless Necessity; Or The Objection That God’s Foreknowing An Act Renders it Unavoidable, Proved False.”   Wilford’s Microcosm. Vol.III.  May, 1884 pp.298-299.

1844 – G.C. Lamphere: “God’s Foreknowledge.- Man’s Free-Wiil.”  Wilford’s Microcosm. Vol.III.  June, 1884 pp.324-325. In this letter to the editor Lamphere expresses his great surprise that so many writers of learning, ability and religious instincts deny God’s foreknowledge to maintain the freedom of the will. Lamphere suggests God is in an eternal now.

1884 – T. Williston: “God’s Eternal Certainty Is Not Man’s Helpless Necessity; Or The Objection That God’s Foreknowing An Act Renders it Unavoidable, Proved False.”  Wilford’s Microcosm. Vol.III.  June, 1884 pp.329-331.

1884 – I.L. Kephart: “The Foreknowledge of God-Reply To Rev. Williston’s Series Of Articles.” Wilford’s Microcosm. Vol.III.  July, 1884 pp.355-357.

1884 – G.C. Lamphere:  “A New Attempt to Solve a New Problem.” Wilford’s Microcosm. Vol.IV.  August, 1884 pp.5-6.In light of his belief that God’s foreknowledge is consistent with the freedom of man Lamphere addresses the problem “how can God be infinitely good, wise, and powerful, and, yet create beings who He knows will sin and suffer eternally.”

1884 – I.L. Kephart: “Man A Co-Operator with The Infinite.” Wilford’s Microcosm. Vol.IV.  August, 1884 pp.9-11.

1884 – John Wesley: “Can God’s Foreknowledge And Endless Punishment Be Harmonized?” Wilford’s Microcosm. Vol.IV.  September,1884 pp.36-37. Wesley, a universalist, disapproves of Williston’s take on God’s foreknowledge of Judas’ destiny being certain yet at the  same time he was free to choose his destiny. Wesley contends in the end, everyone, including  Judas, will be saved.

1884 – G.H. Balsbaugh: “Foreknowledge and Predestination?” Wilford’s Microcosm. Vol.IV.  September,1884 p.38. Asserts God has absolute foreknowledge and deems the whole enterprise of reconciling foreknowledge and sin something man is not meant to solve. Balsbaugh believes there is nothing to gain by blindfolding God.

1884 – S.C. Fulton: “Human Action Not Necessitated By Divine Foreknowledge.” Wilford’s Microcosm. Vol.IV.  September,1884. pp.43-44. Fulton argues that those supporting nescience err by supposing contingency and certainty are opposites.

1884 – B.F. White: “Foreknowledge in a New Light.” Wilford’s Microcosm. Vol. IV. October,1884 pp.70-71.

“God being infinitely perfect, must have perfect knowledge. The perfection of knowledge is only absolutely found in knowing things as they are.  Moral character being necessarily hinged on conditions, that is, on obedience or disobedience. God’s knowledge would be imperfect to know unconditionally that which He made conditional, and that which in its nature is necessarily conditional. God’s knowledge, either present or future, only demonstrates its absolute perfection in knowing conditional things conditionally, and unconditional things unconditionally.”

The editor requested that Mr. Williston respond to the above and expose its fallacy if the logic be fallacious.

1884 – G.D.W. Ellis: “Certainty Not Necessity.”  Wilford’s Microcosm. Vol.IV.  November,1884 pp. 111-112.” Ellis argues that God’s foresight of events does not make them necessary and that the “nescience of the Divine Being is the poorest of all explanations of the origin of moral evil.”

1885 – G.H. M’Knight: “Foreknowledge Versus Predestination.” Wilford’s Microcosm. Vol. IV. March,1885 pp.165-166. M’Knight takes the position that God’s foreknowledge does not change the fact that free-agency exists.

1885 – A. Plumley: “ The Great Mystery.” Wilford’s Microcosm. Vol. IV.  March,1885 pp.170-172. Another appeal to the eternal now concept.

1885 – M. Stone: “The Doctrine of Election.”  Wilford’s Microcosm. Vol. IV.  April,1885 pp. 199-201. Stone contends that prophecy is proof of God’s foreknowledge. Stone disapproves of Adam Clarkes attempt to dispose of foreknowledge.

1885 – T. Williston: “If Judas’ Conduct And Destiny Were Eternaly Foreknown, Was His Ruin An Unavoidable Necessity?”  Wilford’s Microcosm. Vol. IV.  May, 1885 p. 229.

1885 – J. J. Smith: “Duration As Applied To God.”  Wilford’s Microcosm. Vol.IV. July,1885 pp. 289-290. Smith advances several arguments against the “eternal now” concept.

1885 –  J. J. Miles: “Am I? Or Am I Not?”  Wilford’s Microcosm. Vol.IV. September,1885 p.359. Miles challenges the “eternal now” concept.

1885 – Negative book review of McCabe’s book Divine Nescience appeared in The Baptist Quarterly Review. Vol. VII. New York: The Baptist Review Association.1885.pp. 116-119.

“But how Christian men can maintain faith in the Bible and in Christ after divesting God of the attributes of omniscience we do not understand. Let us see. If God could not have foreknown that man would fall, he not only acted rashly in giving him the opportunity, but he brought himself, as well as all our race, into terrible disasters, and all through his ignorance. If this be so, would it be irreverent for a suffering soul to ask God why he did not know better. If God did not foreknow what men would do, he could not have made any previous provision for man’s recovery. Christ and his atonement were all an afterthought-expedients and experiment. If God could not foreknow, how came we to have any prophecies, with specific features, relating to human action and fore-sketched with marvelous definiteness, ages before the actors were born? How could God have justified himself in giving his Son to suffer and die if he did not know that any good  would follow, that even one would believe and be saved. But it does appear, and without further controversy, that God knew full well what he was doing, what would follow.” P. 118.

1886 – T. Nield: “Divine Foreknowledge-No. 1.”  Wilford’s Microcosm. Vol.V. March,1886 pp. 253-255. Nield argues for unlimited foreknowledge of the future.

1886 – Joseph Smith: “Foreknowledge And Free Agency.”  Wilford’s Microcosm. Vol.V. March,1886 pp. 312-313. Smith seems to appeal to middle knowledge to explain the state of affairs in the world. He also suggests all events may be present to God because he fills all eternity.

1889 – Joseph Lee (1889)  wrote an article advocating open theism which appeared in the March, 1889 issue of the serial publication THE GENERAL BAPTIST MESSENGER which was published in Poplar Bluff Missouri.

1890 – Joel Hayes : The Foreknowledge of God; or The Omniscience of God Consistent with His Own Holiness and Man’s Free Agency. (Nashville: Printed for the Author. Publishing House of the M.E. Church, South (1890). 397p. Hayes maintains that God does not foresee free volitions but God calculates probabilities and moral certainties. Hayes demonstrates how such calculations are possible with mathematical equations. Hayes was apparently unaware of McCabe’s two volumes on foreknowledge when he wrote his book.

1891 – W.G. Williams. “Paul’s Epistle to the Romans” in the Methodist Review. March, 1891. pp. 177-193. In discussing Paul’s concept of foreknowledge in Romans he wrote,

“‘Foreknew’  is usually interpreted to mean that God, by his omniscience, foreknew some particular men, as those that would have faith. But this is a daring and unwarranted addition to the apostle’s thought, an unreasonable limitation to the divine foreknowledge. God, by his foreknowledge, either foreknew the exact future character and outcome of ALL men and not the elect only; or which is the fact, he foreknew the exact future of none. This future, the future of free agents, the future of ALL free agents, he remitted, under the provisions of his plan, to each one’s own personal, independent, unforeseen, choice.” p. 192.

1892 –  L.D. McCabe: “Prescience of Future Contingencies Impossible. Methodist Review. September, 1892 pp. 760-773. McCabe argues that the views held by Calvinists (predestination) and Arminians  (prescience) are both diabolical. “Prescience and predestination alike logically necessitate revolting imperfections in the moral character of God.” p. 772.

1892 – George Steele: “Dr. McCabe on the Divine Prescience.”  Methodist Review, November,  1892 pp. 963-965. Steele suggests that McCabe errs by treating the terms certainty and necessity as synonymous when the term have no similarity of meaning. Steele does not think being certain of a future event necessitates its occurrence.

1893 – H.C. Burr: “Prescience of Future Contingencies” Methodist Review. November, 1893 p.967. Burr suggests that if omniscience is true surely God could create at least one individual he knew would not sin. Burr concludes, “The only way out of this difficulty, the only way which does no injustice to the character of God, seems to be by way of the theory of that the future volitions of Adam were unknown to God.”

1894 – S. Hubbard: “Were All Answers to Prayer Provided and Allotted From Eternity” Methodist Review. January, 1894 pp. 125-127. This is Hubbard’s response to an article by James Mudge titled “Prayer” which appeared in the Methodist Review. September, 1893 pp. 707-720. Mudge held that there is a prearranged harmony between prayer and its answer based on God foreseeing the circumstances. In opposition Mudge’s view, Hubbard argued,

“The doctor’s theory may be good theology, built upon the supposed necessity of God’s omniscience including a knowledge of everything that shall come to pass; but it does not seem to accord with the tenor of the Scripture, and God’s omniscience needs no support from such a theory. He necessarily knows all things that are subjects of knowledge. But he has made his free moral agents lords over their own actions, and those actions cannot be subjects of knowledge until determined by the free agent.”

1894 – William Major:  “Answers to Prayer” Methodist Review, March, 1894. pp. 294-296. Major takes the position that prayer can change God’s purposes. According to Major,

“If the character of prayer be contingent, then the answer to prayer must also be contingent or uncertain. God can only foreknow contingent events as contingent and uncertain; for if he foreknows them as certain, then they are not contingent, but must come to pass.” p. 295.

1894 – W.W.W. Wilson: “Prescience or Nescience—Which?” Methodist Review, July, 1894. pp. 639. Wilson believes that prophecy demonstrates that nescience cannot be true.

1894 – Austin Herrick: “An Objection To Divine Nescience” Methodist Review, July, 1894. p. 639. Herrick argues the theory of nescience is not any more incompatible with God’s infinite goodness mercy than believing in foreknowledge.

1894 – Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature Vol. VIII  includes an unfavorable discussion  under the subject of Prescience Of Chevalier (Andrew) Ramsey and Divine Nescience theories. James Bromley’s Divine Prescience book is also mentioned.

1895 – Loring Webster: The End From the Beginning; or Divine Nescience vs. Divine Prescience of Future Contingencies (Cincinnati: printed By Cranston & Curts. (1895). 366p. Book length critique of McCabe’s views on foreknowledge.  Webster coined the term “nesciomania” to describe McCabe’s views.

1895 – B. Franklin: “Contingent Events” Methodist Review, January,1895. p.131. Franklin believes “Contingency is not an attribute of future events, but of our finite faculties. That God did foreknow events which to men were contingent is abundantly proved from Scripture.”

1896 – J. Wallace Webb: “Foreknowledge and Contingency” in the Methodist Review March, 1896. pp. 308-309. Webb wrote “The nonexistence of a fact will always prevent the divine mind from knowing it’s a fact.” p. 309.

1896 – Announcement appeared in the Methodist Review March-April 1896 p.235-236 regarding an upcoming article in a future issue by Henry Shelton addressing the problem of divine foreknowledge assuring readers that “Dr. Shelton will not lean to the dangerous and doubtful doctrine of divine nescience”

1896 – Henry Shelton in ”The Problem of Divine Foreknowledge”  which appeared in the Methodist Review July-August, 1896 p. 323-332 argued against nescience as advanced by Rothe, Martensen and McCabe.

1896 – F.H. Chamberlain: “Foreknowledge and Contingency”  in The Methodist Review. September, 1896. pp. 790-791. Chamberlain believes it is belittling to deny God foreknowledge of whatever will come to pass because God’s could not know if his purposes will ever be fulfilled.

1896 – Miles Grant: (Not orthodox: Denied Trinity) Foreknowledge: Is God’s Prescience Eternal And Universal?

1898 – D.W. Simon. Reconciliation By Incarnation: The Reconciliation of God and Man by The Incarnation of the Divine Word. Edinburgh. T&T Clark (1898). 387p.

“But if anything is true, it is true that man is free; if he is not free, all is Maya, What, then, is the alternative?—Surely, that God has constituted a creature, the actions of which He can only know as such when they are performed. In presence of man, to a certain extent, even the Great God condescends to wait; nay more, has Himself so ordained things that He must wait, inquiring, What will he do?” p. 287.

1899 – Milton Terry “Nescience of God” in The Methodist Review January, 1899. pp. 112-113. In this brief article Terry explains why he is not persuaded by the arguments advanced by Adam Clarke or L.D. McCabe respecting God’s foreknowledge. Terry denies that the proposition “divine nescience of future contingencies is a necessity in the necessity of things” is a self-evident proposition. However, Terry acknowledges that “There is and has been a tendency among Arminian Methodist theologians to look with favor upon the idea that the foreknowledge of God may be limited.” p. 112. Milton S. Terry was the author of the widely used book Biblical Hermeneutics.

1899 – J. Wallace Webb: “Nescience of God” The Methodist Review. May, 1899. pp. 464-465. Webb defends Adam Clarke and L.D. McCabe against the criticisms leveled by Milton S Terry in the January 1899 issue of the Methodist Review . Webb argued,

“[God] foreknows all the possibilities and possible contingencies. This is all he can foreknow, for it is all that is true. The unreal cannot be true. When facts change God’s knowledge of them must also change.” p. 464.

1899 – J.S. Breckinridge: “Nescience of God” The Methodist Review. July, 1899. pp. 622-625. Breckinridge also offered a defense of McCabe’s Views against the criticisms of Milton Terry and considering the stock answers offered by Terry predicted that the number of individuals believing in limited foreknowledge will increase.

1899 – Milton Terry “Nescience of God” in The Methodist Review.  July, 1899. pp. 628-629. Terry responds to his detractors reasserting his position that it is not a self-evident proposition that God cannot know every event that will come to pass.

1900 – H.J. Zelley: “Nescience of God” The Methodist Review. July, 1900. pp. 631-632. Zelley considers Milton Terry’s position that nescience is inconsistent with a perfect being is wrong.

“I have carefully read the texts referring to God’s omniscience and foreknowledge, and have failed to find a single passage which asserts that God knows the future contingent acts of a free agent. This is not inconsistent with his perfect nature. To know is to be certain that something is. Something that is not, and may never be, is unknowable and even omniscience cannot know an unknowable thing. ” p. 632.

1903The New International Encyclopedia. Vol. VII. New York. Dodd, Mead And Company. 1903. Under the topic of “Foreknowledge and Foreordination” the editors recognize that one of the various theories of foreknowledge holds that God’s foreknowledge is limited by the freedom of man. Of this theory the editors write,

“This theory has been proposed at various periods of history, but has always met with rejection as militating against the word of God. It is, however, finding increased favor at the present day in many quarters.” p.597.


1. John Sanders, The God Who Risks: A Theology of Divine Providence, second edition (Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press, 2007), p. 166-172. [http://astore.amazon.com/thopvi-20/detail/0830828370]

(See also, “Historical Considerations” by John Sanders in The Openness of God.)

  • Tom

    Dude, the next time we’re all together, we all pitch in together and Take Tom L and his wife out to the swankiest restaurant in town. This is a lot of work. Thank you Tom!

    • http://TheOpenView.org/ The Open View

      OPEN 2015? :)

      • Tom

        Wow. Yes. We should. Dang.

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