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Four Views on Divine Providence (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology) Paperback – March 22, 2011

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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 (PhD, Princeton Theological Seminary) is a pastor at Woodland Hills Church in St. Paul, Minnesota. Previously a professor of theology at Bethel University, several of his many books include Letters from a Skeptic, Repenting of Religion, Myth of a Christian Nation, God at War, and Satan and the Problem of Evil.



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 & R Publishing, 2010), and has co-edited and contributed to Beyond the Bounds (Wheaton: Crossway, 2003) and Reclaiming the Center (Wheaton: Crossway, 2004).

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Product Details

  • Series: Counterpoints: Bible and Theology
  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan (March 22, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310325129
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310325123
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #88,372 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 40 people found the following review helpful By J. WHITE on April 18, 2011
Format: Paperback
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 By Jeff K. Clarke on 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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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Tom Farr on 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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