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Decision Making and the Will Of God: A Biblical Alternative to the Traditional View (Classic Critical Concern) Paperback – January 1, 2000

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Product Details

  • Series: Classic Critical Concern
  • Paperback: 462 pages
  • Publisher: Multnomah Books (January 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1576737411
  • ISBN-13: 978-1576737415
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.2 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (94 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,866,702 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Garry Friesen, Th,D., is academic dean at Multnomah School of the Bible, Portland, Oregon.

J. Robin Maxson, Th.M., is pastor of the Klamath Evangelical Free Church in Klamath Falls , Oregon .

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Customer Reviews

THAT is the essence of God's will!
Decision Making and the Will of God would be, by far, the best book on the subject.
When I read the book for the first time a week later, I saw myself in it.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

170 of 174 people found the following review helpful By RansomOttawa on May 25, 2000
Format: Paperback
You've heard it all before. You want to ask a girl out, but you don't know whether God wants you to ask that girl out. A friend wants to spend his summer on a mission trip, but after praying to know God's will in the situation he has received no clear response, so he lets the deadline for application pass. Another friend doesn't know whether God would have him go to university or Bible college. Conventional Christian wisdom says that God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life; the secret to the victorious Christian life, you think, is discovering what God's ideal is for you and following it.
Think again.
At least, that is the message of Garry Friesen's Decision Making and the Will of God. This wonderf ul book is a critique of what Friesen calls the "traditional" view of decision making: that God has an "individual will" for each life, a sort of agenda. To be within the will of God is to discover (through, prayer, inner peace, seeking mature counsel, laying out "fleeces," and so forth) what that agenda is, and stick to it. Missing out on God's agenda isn't necessarily living in sin, but it is settling for God's second best.
Friesen points out many of the serious deficiencies in this model. First, it is not to be found in the Bible. The proof-texts given by traditional-view proponents to defend God's individual will are often better interpreted as referring to God's moral will - that is, right and wrong. While the traditional view is stressed for the "biggie" decisions, such as marriage or vocation, it is ignored for the regular decisions we make every day, such as what to eat or wear. When faced with otherwise equal choices, the traditional view insists only one of them is God's will, causing indecision.
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Jim Briggs on December 31, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book is most relevant for all Christians who believe that the Bible truly is an accurate account of communication from the true and living God to all of humanity. The topic is quite important and very relevant in day-to-day living.

It is difficult to give this book too high of a recommendation. I believe that it is the very best book, by far, written on the topic of "the will of God". The author, Garry Friesen, has written the entire book with an irenic spirit regarding those people who have a differing view. The book is lengthy, but that is a result of a detailed analysis of all of the relevant issues and passages of Scripture. I had read the original edition over 20 years ago. Although that book was excellent, this one is even better.

As a young adult and a new Christian, I was taught the so-called "perfect or individual will of God" theory. Through the years, I have constantly read accounts and heard people use words and make decisions based on this (false) belief. All of the books and magazine articles which I've read, and sermons that I've heard, which advocate the "perfect or individual will of God" theory have all begun by assuming this view to be true, and then proceed to give directions about how to actually find God's will. None of them have ever begun with a detailed analysis of Scripture in an attempt to justify the original theory. In direct contrast, Friesen does begin with a careful analysis of the relevant passages of Scripture, and then bases his general principles upon them. He gives a detailed, clear and thorough refutation of the "perfect or individual will of God" theory and also briefly states that the theory is relatively new, not having been advocated or taught by anyone prior to around the year 1875.
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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful By E. Johnson on August 7, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I think discovering God's will is one of the most difficult tasks any Christian must experience, and there are always doubts whether or not we are in the "center" of this "nailing jello to the wall" will. This book might just change the way you view the way we can follow God in a godly manner. Friesen takes a view that God sometimes gives freedom in decisions. We might be given several possibilities, both of which God can work in our lives. He does not force the issue, but through circumstances and other criteria, we can make wise, biblical decisions and realize that we have made godly decisions.
This book has been a great help in my life, as I am a Type A personality who too often tries to figure out every nuance of God and the way He works. Forget it, it just can't be done. By changing my persepective, it has helped me to be more free so that I can experience God completely and have the abundant life as so promised by Christ Himself. If nothing else, the book will make you think through your preconceived notions.
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38 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Derrick A. Peterson on February 18, 2006
Format: Paperback
Having Dr. Friesen (Th.D and Ph.D) as a professor has, perhaps, made me biased to him. But if I am biased to him at all, it is because of his experience, wisdom, and scholarly acumen through which I have been persuaded to his position.

The essential premise of Dr. Friesen's proposal is linked to an analysis of a triple-distinction of God's will: Sovereign (a hidden, absolute decree that ensures all events are ultimately finding their telos in God) Moral (God's will as outlined in the narratives of scripture) and God's individual will (that is, God's specific plan for each individual.) Dr. Friezen agrees with the first two while rejecting the third. This does not mean that God does not factor in individual life, have special responsibilities for individuals, or that the actions of individuals have no consequence. Rather he outlines several basic principles: Where God commands we obey, Where there is no command there is freedom, In all things wisdom should be applied.

Essentially what Dr. Friezen is trying to refute is the notion that direct, apocalyptic or epiphanous revelation needs to occur for all specific decisions, e.g, "Should I go to this college...", or "Shall I eat toast?" In the traditional view (described as a dot at the center of God's moral, revealed will by Dr. Friezen) there is a singular, perfect action a person could take in any situation, one which needs to be discovered through (more thoroughly spoken of in the book) prayer, inner feelings, council, "open doors," etc...

The problem with this method is that it breeds indecision and frustration. I myself have never received a theophany with divine commands pouring through tongues of fire, nor, indeed, have I ever received an unambiguous, direct response to a request for guidance by God.
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