- Paperback: 528 pages
- Publisher: Multnomah; Twenty-Fifth Anniversary, Revised and Updated ed. edition (August 11, 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1590522052
- ISBN-13: 978-1590522059
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.4 x 8.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 132 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #146,582 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ Free Shipping
+ Free Shipping
Decision Making and the Will of God: A Biblical Alternative to the Traditional View Paperback – August 11, 2004
All Books, All the Time
Read author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more at the Amazon Book Review. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
About the Author
Garry Friesen, ThM, ThD, is a member of the Bible faculty at Multnomah Bible College, where he has taught since 1976. Dr. Friesen holds a bachelor’s degree from John Brown University and a master’s degree and doctorate from Dallas Theological Seminary. He lives in Portland, Oregon, where he enjoys hosting Bible reading marathons and collecting C. S. Lewis memorabilia.
J. Robin Maxson, ThM, is senior pastor of United Evangelical Free Church in Klamath Falls, Oregon.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Most books I see on this popular subject are often little more than pamphlets and others are maybe 125 pages at best. Friesen's 430-page volume (not counting indices) resulted from his own struggles with "finding God's will" and eventually spawned from his seminary doctoral dissertation, "God's Will As It Relates To Decision Making" (ThD) at Dallas Theological Seminary (1978). Having said this, Friesen's book is not so theologically minded that it is over the head of most readers; not at all. Though he does show the reader how to maneuver in, around and through key Bible texts pertaining to the doctrine of God's will in quite some detail, none of this book is beyond the grasp of anyone who is willing to patiently and systematically engage and investigate what the Bible reveals. However, if you're in hurry to discover a 7-step method to discovering God's will for your life, then this is not the book for you. This book is definitely no page-turner.
Friesen divides his survey (his word, not mine) into four parts: (1) "You Have heard It Said (The Traditional View Presented)", (2) "The Case of the Missing `Dot' (The Traditional View Critiqued)", (3) "The Way of Wisdom (The Wisdom View Explained)", and (4) "Deciding the Big Ones (The Wisdom View Applied)." In his Introduction, Friesen reveals his anxiety over why the question that had occupied most of his waking thoughts for years was seemingly so elusive; the one that would eventually become the most important decision of his young Christian life . . ., "Where should I go to college?" In his search, Friesen eventually came to three possibilities concerning discovering God's will:
1. Perhaps God was unable to reveal His will.
2. Perhaps there was sinfulness or insincerity on Friesen's part.
3. Perhaps Friesen's understanding of the nature of God's will was biblically deficient.
Friesen eventually came to the understanding that it was his own biblically deficient understanding of the nature of God's will that propelled him to start all over again and approach this subject afresh. Since his conclusions differ significantly from what Friesen calls "The Traditional View" he decided to call his viewpoint "An Alternative View."
At first I thought Friesen was making the same cardinal error of too many other authors by first constructing the proverbial "straw man." How disappointing is that? But curiously Friesen confessed in his Introduction that he ". . . intended to give an accurate overview of the teaching most often presented . . . of the traditional view." He admits that he would present a fictional seminar that would cover in some detail the important points of that viewpoint. He would use this content to later compare, contrast and evaluate the two views. (Hmmm). I won't go into the information Friesen presents, but by the time I finished reading about the fictional seminar I was amazed at just how similar it was to what I had been taught . . . and believed.
Friesen developed what he believes are four essential questions as guides in his early conclusions about God's will:
1. Definition: What does "God's will" mean?
2. Proof: Does God have a plan for my life?
3. Process: How can I discover God's will?
4. Certainty: How can I know God's will for sure in a specific situation?
Though I won't go into detail about these questions, I do think it important to mention Friesen's definitions from question #1 above; his three categories of God's will: (1) His Sovereign will, (2) His Moral will, and (3) His individual will. He refers to these in great detail throughout the rest of the book so understanding these are very important. One of the devices Friesen used effectively was after he covered a section, he inserted a well-designed chart that briefly summarized the material covered. Considering the large volume of information Friesen was going to cover, these charts (Figures) clearly captured the essence of his survey and were handy tools for review. On the other hand, I found his circular graphs less helpful.
What separated this book from all of the other books I have read on this subject was Friesen's willingness and ability to formulate good questions that spoke to the heart of the issue of God's will. One of the really tough ones was "Does God Have Three Wills? His answer to that question, again, separated his viewpoint from the traditional teaching on this subject. But asking questions is one thing; proving your thesis is another. This is where I thought Friesen excelled. His decision to exegete all of the key texts on God's will and painstakingly hold them up to the light of biblical scrutiny was labor intensive, both for himself and the reader. But the positive outcome was well worth the time.
After developing his model (The Way of Wisdom), Friesen spends Section 3 explaining and demonstrating how it worked. In the second half of the book, and this is where he appears to have lost quite a number of readers, Friesen labors at applying his model to the most common "Big Ones", those decisions everyone asks about: Marriage, ministry, missions, vocation, education, etc., etc. He wraps up this long book with a brief, 4-page summary of what he calls his Principles of Decision Making.
I enjoyed my most recent read of this book, probably even more than the first two. I particularly appreciated Friesen's citing research material and the additional information contained in his footnotes; though I would have preferred that he post his footnotes at the bottom of the applicable page rather than at the end of the chapter. I know this form of footnoting is old school, but it still benefits the reader over the publisher, especially in a someshat technical book like this one. And like any other book that shakes our traditional viewpoint on biblical matters, Friesen has received a grand amount of criticism. Most of the criticism has centered on the claim that Friesen has removed God from the Christian's decision making. Whether this is true or not is up to each reader who must patiently and diligently follow Friesen through his study. This book is not a sprint to the finish line; instead it's a marathon, and one worth running. In closing, Friesen has a few words for those who after reading his book are still unsure whether to agree or disagree with his alternative to the traditional view of decision making:
"For the one who is not sure whether he agrees or disagrees, his response is most crucial. First, he should make it a goal to search the Scripture concerning guidance so that he may become fully convinced before the Lord. Second, he should not begin following this new presentation of guidance until he `is' fully convinced. He should continue to follow his previous conviction so that his actions will be of faith and not of doubt (Romans 14:23). If he is not sure, but goes ahead and attempts to follow the way of wisdom, doubts and self-condemnation are likely to follow (Romans 14:22-23). He should follow the traditional view until he is convinced of another view."
Let me just say this: The Authors have researched their viewpoint extensively and come from the genuine perspective that in our own lives this is what we have dealt with and see others dealing with and so we searched the scriptures (over the period of Years) and this is what we have come up with.
The attention to detail is scholastic. Their research is Biblical and well rounded.
To those commentor's who strongly disagree with this book, from the looks of the comments I see, it seems like they have either only half read, misread, or misquoted the Authors. You really must read the full book, come at it with the perspective that You may not have it all figured out, do your own homework on the topic, and not let the opinions of others make you shy away from reading this book.
Again many of the objections to me seem to come from people who in essence, stopped the authors mid sentence to disagree with them before they could (which they do) articulate their full idea.
Even if you end up disagreeing (which I honestly do not understand how you could given the sheer amount of Biblical evidence there is), this book is still worth reading. Period.
Agree or Disagree. This book is one EVERY Christian should read.
He leadeth me O solemn thought,
By His own Words in Scripture wrought,
And by His Spirit in my heart,
To do the things I know I ought.
He leadeth me, not magically,
Nor by some vision I would see.
Nor do I study how things are,
To see if He my way does bar.
Sometimes against my will He leads,
Sometimes regardless of my "needs,"
However hard the path may be,
Still 'tis His hand that leadeth me.
He leadeth me O blessed thought,
To do the things I know I ought.
To help me more like Christ to be,
And so for Him wait eagerly.
Perhaps in some miraculous way,
He'll choose to lead again some day.
No matter what He asks of me,
Will I then say, "He leadeth me?"