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Four Views on Divine Providence (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology) [Kindle Edition]

William Lane Craig , Ron Highfield , Gregory A. Boyd , Paul Kjoss Helseth , Dennis Jowers
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Questions about divine providence have preoccupied Christians for generations: Are people elected to salvation? For whom did Jesus die? This book introduces readers to four prevailing views on divine providence, with particular attention to the question of who Jesus died to save (the extent of the atonement) and if or how God determines who will be saved (predestination).

But this book does not merely answer readers’ questions. Four Views on Divine Providence helps readers think theologically about all the issues involved in exploring this doctrine. The point-counterpoint format reveals the assumptions and considerations that drive equally learned and sincere theologians to sharp disagreement. It unearths the genuinely decisive issues beneath an often superficial debate.

Volume contributors are Paul Helseth (God causes every creaturely event that occurs); William Lane Craig (through his “middle knowledge,” God controls the course of worldly affairs without predetermining any creatures’ free decisions); Ron Highfield (God controls creatures by liberating their decision-making); and Gregory Boyd (human decisions can be free only if God neither determines nor knows what they will be). Introductory and closing essays by Dennis Jowers give relevant background and guide readers toward their own informed beliefs about divine providence.

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Dennis Jowers is associate professor of Theology and Apologetics at Faith Evangelical Seminary in Tacoma, Washington.

Stanley N. Gundry is executive vice president and editor-in-chief for the Zondervan Corporation. He has been an influential figure in the Evangelical Theological Society, serving as president of ETS and on its executive committee, and is adjunct professor of Historical Theology at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary. He is the author of seven books and has written many articles appearing in popular and academic periodicals.

William Lane Craig (PhD, University of Birmingham, England) is research professor of philosophy at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University and lives in Marietta, GA.

Ron Highfield (B.A., M.Th., Harding University; M.A., Ph.D., Rice University), Professor of Religion at Pepperdine University, is the author of Great is the Lord: Theology for the Praise of God (Eerdmans, 2008).and articles in Theological Studies, the Christian Scholars' Review, the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, Faculty Dialogue, the Stone-Campbell Journal, and Restoration Quarterly.

Gregory A. Boyd is the founder and senior pastor of Woodland Hills Church in St. Paul, Minn., and founder and president of Christus Victor Ministries. He was a professor of theology at Bethel College in Minnesota for sixteen years. Greg is a graduate of the University of Minnesota (BA), Yale Divinity School (M.Div), and Princeton Theological Seminary (PhD). He is a national and international speaker at churches, colleges, conferences, and retreats, and has appeared on numerous radio and television shows. He has also authored and coauthored eighteen books prior to Present Perfect, including The Myth of a Christian Religion, The Myth of a Christian Nation, and his international bestseller Letters from a Skeptic. Learn more at SPANISH BIO: Gregory A. Boyd es pastor y fundador de la iglesia Woodland Hills en St. Paul, MN y ademas fundador y presidente del ministerio 'Christus Victor'. Greg tiene una licenciatura de la Universidad de Minnesota, una maestria en Divinidad de la escuela Yale Divinity y un doctorado del Seminario Teologico de Princeton. Ademas, sirvio como profesor de teologia en la Facultad Bethel de Minnesota por dieciseis anos. el es invitado con frecuencia a dictar conferencias en iglesias, retiros y universidades nacionales e internacionales y aprecio en numerosos programas de television y radio. Greg es autor y coautor de varios libros, entre ellos, Dios de lo posible y su exito de ventas, Cartas de un esceptico. Visite para mas informacion.

Paul Kjoss Helseth (Ph.D. Marquette University) is Professor of Christian Thought at Northwestern College in St. Paul, MN. He is the author of 'Right Reason' and the Princeton Mind: An Unorthodox Proposal (Phillipsburg, N.J.: P and R Publishing, 2010), and has co-edited and contributed to Beyond the Bounds (Wheaton: Crossway, 2003) and Reclaiming the Center (Wheaton: Crossway, 2004).

Product Details

  • File Size: 1662 KB
  • Print Length: 272 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Up to 5 simultaneous devices, per publisher limits
  • Publisher: Zondervan (April 19, 2011)
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishing
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003U4UXXW
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  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,527 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
30 of 36 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Incomplete April 18, 2011
This book is excellent in its presentation of a Calvinistic approach, a Middle-Knowledge approach, and the open theist approach to divine providence. It is missing the Arminian approach! Ron Highfield's article is a complete waste of paper, as it is too closely related to Helseth's. Therefore, this books is really a three-view book rather than four. Boyd presented a better biblical presentation of open-theism in Divine Foreknowledge: Four Views and, in my opinion, Boyd's article in that book is the best of all of them. I have never been impressed with Middle-Knowledge because of its complete lack of scriptural basis (e.g., it is a philosophy rather than a theology). What I can say is that this book presents a good presentation of a Calvinistic view on providence, unlike Paul Helm's presentation of this position in Divine Foreknowledge: Four Views as well as his article in Perspectives on the Doctrine of God: Four Views, which has an excellent article on Classical Arminianism (Roger E. Olson), as well as a fantastic article by John Sanders on open theism.

Another good presentation of an Arminian view is found in Predestination and Free Will: Four Views. This book also has a good presentation of Calvinism (John Feinberg) and open theism written by the late Clark Pinnock.

Let me tell you why I am giving all of the above suggestions, because there is no "one" good book on the subject, as only excellent articles exist from different books on the subject. If you want a good presentation of Calvinism, then buy this text. Some may critique me by not recommending the Middle-Knowledge article as a reason to buy this book. I, however, will stand firmly on the ground that until this model becomes biblical rather than philosophical, it need not be read.

The subject of divine providence is extremely worthwhile and needs to be studied carefully. Read this text, but do not limit yourself to it.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Views on Divine Providence May 13, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Four Views on Divine Providence is the latest in the Counter Point Series edited by Stanley N. Gundry. The book is structured in such as way that allows for a variety of authors to characterize their particular vision of the topic at hand. This volume focuses attention on the issue of God's providence and seeks to provide answers to these questions:

Does God ever ordain evil acts?

Does God always get what he wants?

How can anyone reconcile human beings' moral responsibility with God's sovereignty over their acts?

Hoe does God influence the affairs of this world at all?

Four theologians from different church traditions were invited to present their findings based on their reading of scripture and christian tradition.

Paul Kjoss Helseth represents the Reformed tradition and argues that all events owe both their occurrence and mode of that occurrence to God, who causes every creaturely act in such a way as to determine completely its nature and outcome.

William Lane Craig, arguing on behalf of contemporary Molinists, maintains that God knows what creatures will do by virtue of his middle knowledge and that he controls the course of worldly affairs by means of this awareness without predetermining any of his creatures' free decisions.

Ronald Highfield, writing from the Restorationist tradition, articulates what he considers to be a biblical perspective on the subject, which differs in content and emphases from the others.

Finally, Gregory Boyd advocates for open theism, where humans decisions, in most circumstances, can be free only if God neither determines nor even knows what they will be until they are actualized.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An Attempt At a Viable Solution September 14, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
For centuries theologians and philosophers have studied, formulated, and debated how God can be completely sovereign over the totality of events and creatures of his creation, yet human beings maintain a degree of freedom required for them to be morally responsible for their actions. Is God's sovereignty defined as a meticulous causal determination of all things in creation, or does God's sovereignty rule over a creation where humans have a degree of limited and derived freedom where they are the genuine cause of their own actions? If God's control is meticulous, what is the logical conclusion to the problem of evil? Are human beings really responsible for actions they did not ultimately cause? These are the questions people have wrestled with and a new book published by Zondervan brings together four Christian thinkers with four views of how God's providence actually works in the world-FOUR VIEWS ON DIVINE PROVIDENCE.

The book features Paul Kjoss Helseth with the view "God causes all things," William Lane Craig with the view "God directs all things," Ron Highland with the view "God controls by liberating," and Gregory A. Boyd with the view "God limits his control."

Helseth's view is clearly Calvinist as he describes God as "omnicausal," predetermining everything in his creation exactly as he wants it. The problem with this view is that it logically leads to God as the author of evil and human beings are held responsible for something God planned.

Craig presents the Molinist position, which states that God exercises his meticulous sovereignty primarily his omniscience, specifically God plans the world factoring in the actions of free creatures utilizing what Molinists call "middle knowledge.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A Heavy, Philosophical Read
I have read over a dozen Counterpoint books, and this is by far the most difficult to understand (and I have two masters from Azusa and Bethel and a doctorate from Bethel... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Alfonso Gilbert
5.0 out of 5 stars A very nice book to read and think
It is a good tool in order to expand your mind to other ways of thinking apart from the classical theology. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Fran
3.0 out of 5 stars Actually 3 views
First, The view of Highfield who is associated w/ Churches of Christ is his own and not at all reflective of the group he claims to be a part of. Read more
Published 10 months ago by John B. Lankford
2.0 out of 5 stars A Mediocre Rehash of Four Views on Divine Foreknowledge
First, this book's work has already been done before in another book. However, this book is less thorough, with two Theistic Determinists, one Molinist, and one Open Theist. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Drew
5.0 out of 5 stars Avid reader on this subject and on Craig's work
I was extremely happy to see William Lane Craig be given the platform of detailing his analysis on this subject. Read more
Published 16 months ago by dw
4.0 out of 5 stars There's no such thing as Coincidence...!
We all have different view points - but there truly is a spiritual being that rules this universe - we all have a purpose for being in this life - I believe it is Divine Providence... Read more
Published 17 months ago by Chavah7
5.0 out of 5 stars Every night, in small doses.
Really interesting perspectives, and some ah ha moments. But take it slow, and don't give up during the boring parts. Each author adds value. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Dave
4.0 out of 5 stars Great read for Free Will, Determinism and Middle Knowledge
William Lane Craig made the concept of Middle Knowledge very clear and illustrated that Complete Determinism and Free Will and not mutually exclusive.
Published 18 months ago by RdB
5.0 out of 5 stars Happy customer
Exactly as described. Great reading and very helpful in my studies. A great addition to my library. Very beneficial to my ministry
Published 19 months ago by Deb
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting overview
I enjoyed the give-and-take style of the book. It's nice that they arrange the discussions with a main author, then all others respond. There are four authors, representing ... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Amazon Customer
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