Book Review – Decision Making and the Will of God
- Decision Making and the Will of God (Classic Critical Concern)
- Garry Friesen
As it’s that time of the year, when finalist scrabble around, trying to work out what to do next year. As a (possible) help during this time, I’d though that I’d post a review of this book, which I had found particularly helpful.
Are You a Christian? What do you understand God’s will to be? I’d be willing to bet that at least some of you think that God has a perfect will for your life that you are supposed to find out. A plan for you, which described all the major decisions of your life, your job, spouse and many other details. If this is so, you may be surprised to find that I (and this book) don’t agree with you on this.
The book starts by describing this view (termed the “traditional view”) that God has a plan for our lives and that we receive guidance through methods such as “open and closed doors”, “feeling led” and “the still, small, voice”. Once the view has been well explained, through the foil of a fictional seminar, the book continues to critique this view, explaining how it is based on a poor use and understanding of scriptures, and how some of the reasons given in support of the view do not apply. The author then presents an alternative to the “traditional method” called the “wisdom method”.
The “wisdom method” holds that God does not have an “individual will” for our lives, but rather that all of God’s will can be summed up within two categories, God’s sovereign will and God’s moral will. Basically God’s sovereign will is all the things that god decrees will happen. It is hidden (mostly) from us, and does not play an active part in our decision, although some of it is revealed in the bible. God’s moral will is the part that we must concern ourselves with in making decisions. It is fully revealed in the bible and our decisions must be made within it. We may use wisdom in applying god’s moral will to our lives, or we may be in an area not covered by god’s moral will. We must finally submit in advance to God’s sovereign will, being prepared for him to sovereignty intervene and redirect us through whatever means he wills (see James).
The book also examines the application of this viewpoint to many areas of life such as the decision about going into ministry or getting married. For this reason the sections of the book that actually apply to all people are considerably shorter than the whole book, so do not be out off by the large size. The book is also big because of the careful exegesis given to each of the relevant passages rather than a cursory evaluation.
Overall, this book is very useful, if you are seeking to understand how to follow God’s will for the rest of your life. If you read it you may just be surprised at the freedom we have in Christ to do what we desire.
P.S. if you want to borrow the book, or a set of CDs containing teaching based on the book, please ask me, I’d be happy to lend them out.