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How Then Should We Choose?: Three Views on God's Will and Decision Making [Paperback]

By Douglas S. Huffman (Editor)
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Item description for How Then Should We Choose?: Three Views on God's Will and Decision Making by Douglas S. Huffman...

The three-views approach is an effective and succinct means of introducing theological subjects to readers of all levels. How Then Should We Choose? applies this proven format to the vital topic of decision making and the Christian's search for the will of God. Garry Friesen of Multnomah Bible College, Henry and Richard Blackaby of Blackaby Ministries International, and Gordon T. Smith of Regent College each contribute summaries of their perspectives on God's will and their approaches to decision making. Friesen discusses the "wisdom" view, Henry and Richard Blackaby delineate the "specific will" view, and Smith champions the "relationship" view of God's will. In an effort to make this discussion reader friendly, the contributors have applied their beliefs regarding God's will and decision making to three practical, concrete topics: career, relationships, and stewardship. Using three hypothetical stories, the authors illustrate how their respective views would influence decisions in these common areas of concern.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Kregel Publications
Pages   272
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.3" Width: 5.4" Height: 0.8"
Weight:   0.7 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Feb 1, 2009
Publisher   Kregel Publications
ISBN  082542898X  
ISBN13  9780825428982  

Availability  4 units.
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More About Douglas S. Huffman

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Douglas S. Huffman (PhD, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) is Professor and Chair of Biblical and Theological Studies at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University, La Mirada, California. Huffman is author of The Handy Guide for New Testament Greek and Verbal Aspect Theory and the Prohibitions in the Greek New Testament, and he is editor of Christian Contours.

Douglas S. Huffman currently resides in Saint Paul, in the state of Minnesota. Douglas S. Huffman was born in 1961.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living > General
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > General

Christian Product Categories
Books > Christian Living > Practical Life > General

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Reviews - What do customers think about How Then Should We Choose?: Three Views on God's Will and Decision Making?

An Excellent Choice to Make  Mar 22, 2009
The "excellent choice" to which I have referred, is to choose to read this book. The subtitle of the book "Three Views on God's Will and Decision Making" concisely states the essence of the book. The three views which are presented in this book are given the titles of the "specific will view", the "wisdom view" and the "relationship view"; the contributors are, respectively, Henry & Richard Blackaby (I will refer to them by the singular pronoun in this review), Garry Friesen and Gordon Smith. The format consists of each contributor who describes his view, and then each of the other two makes responses to it. In addition, each contributor applies his principles of decision-making to the same three issues of college & career choices, marriage, and choice of a church to attend. One of the contributors states, "... I hope to provide an example of dealing with a debatable issue with clarity and charity." I perceive that all three authors shared the same goal.

The editor, Douglas Huffman, writes a helpful introduction and conclusion. There is also a beneficial "categorized bibliography", in which the editor has listed almost 100 books, such that each one has a label given which indicates which view (or combination of views) is held by the author(s) of each book. Throughout the book, the footnotes are given at the bottom of each page, which also is an asset for those who wish to identify the sources of the quotes.

I do not believe that it should be my goal to tell those who have not (yet) read the book what are my conclusions about the validity of each these three points of view. However, there are several criteria which I perceive are both relevant and important in trying to discern the validity of each view. Indeed, an analysis of the book using these criteria (and others) will go a long way towards demonstrating the clear distinctions between the views.

First of all, each of the contributors does claim that his view is based on the teachings of the Bible. But is such a claim really true? Each reader of this book should analyze each of the presentations, and attempt to determine whether the contributor's view comes specifically and directly from various passages of Scripture, or whether he has merely given some general principle(s) with only a casual mention (or none at all) of any passage(s) of Scripture which would justify the specific teaching being presented.

Secondly, and concerning a related topic, since this book does deal with the theme of communication, primarily from God to man, each reader of the book should carefully notice how each contributor uses the phrases "will of God", "God's voice", "God speaks", and other very similar phrases. Does each contributor really use each of these phrases in the same way as is used in the Bible? Or does he take one (or more) of these phrases from the Bible, and then use the same (or similar) phrase but with an entirely different meaning?

Thirdly, are there examples in which any contributor uses some basic word, concept or principle that is not actually found in the Bible? If so, on what basis does he justify such a use?

Fourthly, each contributor did apply his principles to the same three "major" decisions of life. And it's quite obvious that various decisions have different amounts of significance. However, is it possible for each view to be applied to "ordinary" or "common" decisions which must be faced daily? If not, does the contributor give guidelines on how to distinguish between "major" and "common" decisions? And also if not, does the contributor give reasons why it's not necessary to apply his principles to these "common" decisions?

Finally, are there examples given by each contributor in which the principles which he advocates are actually presented and employed by people within the Bible itself?

I believe that an analysis of each view, with each of these five criteria in mind, indicates that there are significant differences among the contributors. Although none of them believes that his view is essential for salvation, and consequently the various views presented are all given by individuals who genuinely wish to honor the Lord with their lives and decisions, it is also clear that in several major areas the views of the three contributors are mutually exclusive.

The editor gives a good summary and analysis in the 14-page conclusion. One part of the conclusion is "The Geometry of the Discussion" in which he uses charts with triangles to give short (and accurate) summary statements of each point of view. Such diagrams are indeed helpful for understanding, which is clearly one of the editor's goals. However, it is quite wrong for any reader of this book to draw the conclusion that such diagrams indicate that each view is equally valid. The charts show points of comparison and contrast, but they do not indicate anything about the validity (or lack thereof) for any of the three views. Thus, in showing the three views as vertices of a triangle, the editor states (page 243), "It seems to me that the balance to strive for is that of the position in the center of the triangle, ..." I disagree with that statement, for such a conclusion implies that all three points of view are equally valid, and I firmly believe that it is not the case that all three are equally valid. As the reader goes through the final three pages of the conclusion, in the section "Some Reassurances as You Decide Which Option to Choose", it would be very insightful to analyze the editor's comments in light of the information presented by the three contributors. Various statements which he makes seem to imply that he accepts all three points of view as equally valid, but I simply do not perceive how such a conclusion can be legitimate.

Since I have carefully studied this topic for quite a few years, it is obvious to me that the editor has spent an enormous amount of time and energy in studying much about the topic, and presenting the information in a well-organized book. For that fact alone, this book is certainly worth the cost. Thus, those of us who read the book benefit greatly. Perhaps my only specific criticism is that I wish that it had been required that each of the three contributors would have to list specific examples of people throughout church history (subsequent to the completion of the canon of Scripture) who have employed the principles which he has advocated.

There are major differences between these three views. A careful reading and analysis of this book does reveal these distinctions. The contributors (and the editor) all agree that the topic is vitally important for each Christian, and I concur. The book deserves a very high rating.

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