Friesen in my tracks


Also seen in that Nebraska truck stop, on a rack of Christian books: The 25th anniversary edition of Decision Making and the Will of God, by Garry Friesen and Robin Maxson. I first read this book about 10 years ago and about 15 years too late for me -- after most of my major life decisions had been made -- but not too late to help shape my children's understanding of the freedom and responsibility they will have to choose among the many options they'll be presented with.

The thrust of the first part of the book is that the "traditional view" (a view that appears to trace back to the 19th century Keswick movement) of making life decisions is unbiblical. The idea you are likely to encounter in a church youth group or in a campus ministry is that God has a perfect will for your life -- where to go to college, what career to pursue, whom to marry. Your job is to figure it out, and if you guess wrong, you will miss out on the abundant life God desires for you (except that He apparently doesn't desire it for you enough to tell you how to find it).

As an alternative, Friesen looks at what the Scriptures say about decision-making and summarizes what he finds with the name "the way of wisdom." Where God gives us a specific command in Scripture, we're to obey it. Beyond that we have the freedom and responsibility to make choices in accordance with Biblical principles, trusting that God will sovereignly work through those choices to accomplish His purposes.

In the new edition, the section describing the traditional view is significantly reduced, and more space is given to presenting the Biblical view and how it can be applied in specific decision-making situations. The back of the book has a list of Frequently-Asked Questions raised in the 25 years since its first edition -- the FAQ list refers the reader back to specific chapters to read the answers. There's also a "study guide" -- discussion questions for each chapter.

You can read a review of the 1980 edition here on the 9 Marks website. Can't seem to find a detailed review of the new edition on the web.

UPDATE (2006/04/18): Garry Friesen has a section of his website devoted to the new edition of the Decision Making and the Will of God. The website has the forward, intro, first two chapters, and the opening section of the original edition. There are answers to frequently-asked questions and reviews by Friesen of over 30 other books on the topic of life decisions. Very helpful and informative.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on June 20, 2005 10:19 PM.

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