Item description for Providence & Prayer : How Does God Work in the World? by Terrance L. Tiessen...
Overview If God has already decided how things will turn out, what use is it to pray? On the other hand, if our freedom limits God's ability to achieve his wishes all the time, how much could he do even if we asked for help? How much does God know about the future, and how does this factor into the way our prayers affect the outcome? And how does God's relationship to time enter into the whole question? With such questions in mind, Terrance Tiessen presents ten views of providence and prayer and then wraps things up with his own proposal. The result is a book that puts us at the intersection between theological reflection and our life and conversation with God. It prods and sharpens our understanding, making us better theologians and better prayers.
Publishers Description Recipient of an Honourable Mention in the 2001 God Uses Ink Contest "Lord, please give me a parking space " That prayer sounds right on your third time around the block, frustrated and late for an appointment. But is it consistent with how God works in the world? Does prayer change God's mind or only our feelings? Does God do things because we ask him to? Or do we ask him because he prompts us to do so? How much control does God really have in the world, anyway? If he has given us free will, can he always guarantee that things will happen as he intends or wishes? Is our need for parking spaces important enough to bother God, or is he only concerned about things that advance his program of salvation? If God has already decided how things will turn out, what use is it to pray? On the other hand, if our freedom limits God's ability to achieve his wishes all the time, how much could he do even if we asked for help? How much does God know about the future, and how does this factor into the way our prayers affect the outcome? And how does God's relationship to time enter into the whole equation? With such questions in mind, Terrance Tiessen presents ten views of providence and prayer--and then adds an eleventh, his own. He describes each view objectively and then tackles the question, If this is the way God works in the world, how then should we pray? The result of his investigation is a book that puts us at the intersection between theological reflection and our life and conversation with God. It prods and sharpens our understanding, making us better theologians and better prayers.
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Studio: IVP Academic
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.89" Width: 5.92" Height: 1.22" Weight: 1.4 lbs.
Release Date May 26, 2000
Publisher IVP-InterVarsity Press
ISBN 0830815783 ISBN13 9780830815784
Availability 0 units.
More About Terrance L. Tiessen
Tiessen is professor of theology and ethics at Providence Theological Seminary, Otterburne, Manitoba, Canada.
Reviews - What do customers think about Providence & Prayer : How Does God Work in the World??
Questions answered... Oct 23, 2005
This book gave me much insight into how and why there are so many notions of how God involves Himself in our lives through the process we call "prayer". I was turned onto this book from a professor teaching on post-modernism in the church and am also using it for a Sunday School Adult class on Approaching God Through Prayer. It is extremely helpful and was useful in enlightening why I think and pray the way I do...as well as clearly explaining other points of view. Mainly, though, God just wants us to talk to Him. He probably thinks it is funny that we go to all this trouble to explain ourselves to each other.
Informative and Interesting, But a Few Flaws Dec 14, 2000
This was actually a very informative and interesting text. For those who are wanting to get a broad sweep of the issues regarding divine foreknowledge and human freedom, this is the text for you. Tiessen takes 10 views or models and discusses what each believes and teaches regarding Divine foreknowledge, future contingents, human freedom, etc. The 10 models discussed include, 1) the Semi-deist, 2) Process, 3) Openness (neo-theism), 3) Church Dominion, 4) Redemptive Intervention, 5)Molinist, 6) Thomist, 7) Barthian, 8) Calvinist, 9) Fatalist, 10) Calvinist-Middle Knowledge(Tiessen's own view). Tiessen presents a situation of several missionaries being taken hostage and a group of Christians gathering to pray for this crisis. Thus, at the end of each chapter, Tiessen includes a prayer that would be spoken (for the hostages) by a person who held to each of these views. This allows the reader to not only be able to read about what each group adheres to, but it also puts "application" to the views via the prayer scenario. All of the above made this book a very informative text on the issues at hand.
There were, however, several aspects/elements on which I thought Tiessen missed the mark. First, the prayer that was given at the end of the chapter on process theology did not fit the view at hand. Second, the chapter on Molinism was Molinism according to William Lane Craig, not Luis de Molina. Albeit, Tiessen explains, at the beginning of this chapter, that he would not be focusing on Molina's teaching of 'Molinism,' since Tiessen believed there were plenty of modern day Molinists who have written on the subject. Regardless, it would have been more scholarly for Tiessen to have focused on Molina since he was the originator of the doctrines and then added the modern Molinist for extra dimension. Third, Tiessen wrongly characterized Aquinas' view in several places. For example, on page 322, he declares that Aquinas was mistaken in his (Aquinas') belief and teaching that God was timeless (i.e. not in time at all, as Tiessen characterized it). Aquinas never taught that God was timeless in the sense that He is not in time at all. Aquinas espoused that God was timeless in the sense that He was not bound by time but that He could act in and through time (See the Summa for an exposition of this matter). Fourth, Tiessen's synthesis of the Calvinist-Middle knowledge model was confusing and did not fit together well at all. I think this was due in part to the fact that he was to broad in his explanation of the model and he did not pull together his ideas too well. So I was left trying to figure out what he was actually trying to communicate about the model. In other words, This synthesis just didn't seem to work well.
At the back of the text there is a chart that compares all the views in light of certain theological or philosophical doctrines (i.e. whether God is timeless or temporal, omniscience, etc). There is also a very small glossary that helps the reader understand certain terms. This, I thought, was nice and helpful, especially for those who are new to the issues. Plus, there is a nice size bibliography and three indexes of names, subjects, and Scriptures. Overall, I recommend the book, especially to those who are researching these issues, since this is one volume that contains 10 views; which stands alone compared to other texts.