Here is a great book for the year 2000. It does not give a meticulous year by year account of Clark Pinnock's life. Far better, it captures an open-minded exploration of alternative models. These alternatives, and the current paradigm shift in evangelical thought (xix, 3), have been at the heart of evangelical discussion in the half-century since Pinnock's conversion in 1950.
Callen chronicles Pinnock's reaction to his earlier espousal of innerancy and traditional Reformed theology (xiv, 5, 7, 91-93, 243). We see struggles in Pinnocks' own Baptist denomination (46-52, 179), and a gradual engagement with Wesleyan, Eastern Orthodox, and Pentecostal experience (139, 150-158, 180-187, 202-204).
Clark's editing of the supremely important book, The Openness of God, Inter Varsity 1994 still provokes antagonism from those who assume God must be impassive and immutable (115, 131, 153-159). Equally controversial was Pinnock's move from a model of God as an absolute monarch to a "Loving Parent" (129, 176). And that opened up a hope for the unevangelized (161-163), and a shift from a model of eternal punishment for the lost to eternal death (164-169). I did not know that Clark Pinnock's 1963 thesis at the University of Manchester under F.F.Bruce was on "The concept of the Spirit in the Epistles of Paul." And that flowered powerfully in Flame of Love: A Theology of the Holy Spirit, InterVarsity 1996 (197-198, 216).
Along the way we are reminded of contacts and interactions with evangelical giants (xv, 23-24, 27-29, 36, 54, 62, 73, ), some of whom trumpeted their disapproval (191-193). Nowhere does Pinnock deny the right of others to explore in other directions. What must be rejected is the assumption that Evangelical theology is carved in stone, and those who test the boundaries are heretics. The Bible is still infallible for God's own purposes. But Paul's injunction to "be transformed by the renewing of your minds" (Romans 12:2) surely requires a willingness to try out other models that might help us understand the awesome mystery of heaven.
Pinnock is faulted for changing his mind (191-193), as if having a closed mind is a proof of evangelical orthodoxy. I love the seven appendices (219-267). In each case there is a passage from Clark's earlier writing and his own recent evaluation of why his mind has been renewed. This is a gracious example of how evangelical theology should be engaged in. An Afterword concludes with "I proceed with the work of reforming fundamentalism and of bringing to light more of the glorious mysteries of Christ's everlasting Gospel" (272). Amen to that agenda.
For students there is an invaluable bibliography of all Pinnock's books, chapters in other books, articles, book reviews, and some other authors relating to his work (273-283).
One complaint is that Journey Toward Renewal is a poor subtitle.
H. Pinnock : An Intellectual Biography would be more appealing for
a second edition. The other complaint is more serious. As usual, Canadians
cannot believe that anything good could originate in our country. Instead
of a Canadian publisher, this paperback is published in Nappanee, Indiana.