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Easy Chairs, Hard Words: Conversations on the Liberty of God
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Easy Chairs, Hard Words: Conversations on the Liberty of God

4.24 of 5 stars 4.24  ·  rating details  ·  244 ratings  ·  44 reviews
'Easy Chairs, Hard Words' offers an honest look at many difficult passages in Scripture. Presented as a series of fictional conversations between a curious young Christian and a seasoned pastor, these dialogues speak with clarity to those new to the Reformed faith. They begin with the question, "Can salvation be lost?" and from there wrestle with other hard-to-swallow doct...more
Paperback, 150 pages
Published January 1st 1991 by Canon Press
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Josh Meares
Easy Chairs, Hard Words is a book that describes conversations between a Calvinist minister and a lay person who is an Arminian. It is basically a presentation of a Calvinist apologetic on all of the essential doctrines of that denomination. It is a remarkably good book basing every argument upon strong Scriptural support. It is not written as a polemic against Arminianism, rather it is written as a proof-text for Calvinism. As such, the weakness of this book is that it does not address those te...more
Wilson tells the story of a non-Calvinist coming to Calvinism through dialog with a Calvinist pastor in this short, easy to read book. Good reads says that two stars means "it was okay," and that's why I gave it two stars: it was okay. Nothing stellar. Certainly nothing I'd give an Arminian, especially a knowledgeable, well-read one.

This book is like the theological counterpart to Wilson's Persuasions book; and though not deep, I enjoyed that one.

Despite the surface-level arguments for Calvinis...more
This book, written in the form of a conversation between a Reformed pastor and a young Christian, is a fly-by examination of the collection of doctrines generally referred to as Calvinism. It is definitely not an in-depth examination of the Reformed teachings, but its brevity added much to its readability. Here are a few good quotes and paraphrases:

The question is not whether a Christian can lose his salvation, but rather, can Christ lose a Christian?

"Individual atheists can frequently be incons...more
Phillip Ross
Remarkable dialogs in the tradition of Socrates, except pertaining to Christianity in the contemporary world. Superb!
This was an interesting book. It was a dialogue between a teen boy in a church that taught that a Christian could lose his salvation who
called a pastor of a church that taught the security of the believer.
Many of the questions on each side of the issue were discussed thoroughly in a conversational manner of back and forth talk.

"In true revival, doctrine is the emphasis, and the doctrine is God centered. In revivalism, because man is the center, feelings are emphasized. In revival, truth overwhe...more
Dan Glover
This book takes the form of a conversation between a younger Christian seeking answers and an older pastor who is willing to discuss the tough and often contentious issues surrounding the biblical doctrines typically labelled as Calvinism or Reformed theology. While the mechanics of the conversation are at times a bit contrived (as another reviewer has mentioned), this is not a major drawback of the book. There are many more thorough introductions to the distinctives of Reformed theology but thi...more
Andrew Halsey
Good faithful presentation of some basic Reformed theology. Written as a conversation (in the tradition of Chaney's William the Baptist) between a wise Presbyterian pastor and a young man who, after reading his Bible, is troubled to find out that the church he attends hasn't been telling him the whole truth.

Several lists of scripture texts supplement the story to encourage further study and review.
Jonathan Rodebaugh
This may have been the best book on the topic of biblical salvation that i have ever read outside of scripture. I seriously could not put it down. Wilson does a phenomenal job of explaining biblical salvation in a way that is extremely easy to understand (if you have a comprehensive understanding of the bible). I am actually looking forward to reading this book again to catch things i missed the first read. I could very easily relate to the character asking questions to the pastor. Wilson explai...more
Greg Balzer
While I'd like to provide a more complete review sometime soon, the pile of books on my nightstand calls.

In short, I'd recommend this book to anybody who struggles with the question of just how sovereign God really is (according to the Bible). Exactly how much free will do we really have? Does God choose who goes to heaven, is this our choice, or is it something in between? Does God "allow" evil or "ordain" it? Is the current state of the Christian church in the USA actually God's will? The clai...more
Canon Press
Easy Chairs, Hard Words offers an honest look at many such difficult passages in Scripture. Presented as a series of fictional conversations between a curious young Christian and a seasoned pastor, these dialogues speak with clarity to those new to the Reformed faith. They begin with the question, "Can salvation be lost?" and from there wrestle with other hard-to-swallow doctrines, including the freedom of the will, election, and original sin.

Hard words, and yet the understanding given these pas...more
May 28, 2011 Ann added it
Recommends it for: seekers of truth
Recommended to Ann by: Mike Lawyer
Concerning the truth as it relates to a number of important theological issues:

1. Losing your salvation/or not
2. Election
3. Is God really in control?
4. Terms that are loosely used (and buzz words)...what they imply or mean/or not.
5. The history of how many theological views/terms came to be; such as, evangelical and revivals.

Doug Wilson is "interviewing" a fellow pastor of another persuasion to determine why he believes what he believes. Doug was taught contrary to what this pastor believes, but...more
Dec 29, 2007 Giselle rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone interested in theology
Shelves: favorites
This may very well be the best book on theology I have ever read. It is simple and easy to follow, written in a narrative dialogue format, and yet it's amazingly complex in its ideas. The book is set up as a series of "meetings" between a young seeker and an experienced spiritual mentor (who is probably a pastor) as they examine together some of the tenets of the Christian faith.

This book helped me personally when I was wrestling through some questions about my beliefs. As I said, it's very read...more
Mike Earl
Excellent primer on Calvinism from Doug Wilson. Engaging, entertaining, and saturated in Scripture.
Bruce Flanagan
Seriously one of the most incredible books I ever read
Lucas Bradburn
A very clever and helpful introduction to the doctrines of grace.
If this one doesn't get you thinking more deeply about what you believe and why, I don't know what will. Addressing key issues is one of Wilson's fortes, as is making the hidden arguments understandable to the lay-reader.

The first chapter is a wonderful treatise for those who believe that we, not Christ, are the trustees of our salvation, and therefore are able to loose it or misplace it, or whatever.

Much more good stuff awaits you in the following chapters.
Craig Houston
Douglas Wilson invites you on a journey of one Christians desire to understand the difficult doctrines of grace. It is cleverly written, with the Easy chair belonging to the patient pastor from across town who lovingly and carefully teaches the young man seeking answers to very hard questions. This book masterfully answers many of the Bible questions one faces as he or she try's to better understand the sovereignty of God in all things.
This is all very clear, biblical theology. I feel a twinge of regret, because the vehicle is underused. Wilson makes the book into a form of dialogue between a Reformed Pastor and a doubting Arminian young man. This is good, but neither character does anything, but be a mouth-piece for the doctrinal info. It's good doctrine, but if one reads, say, Peter Kreeft's Socrates dialogues, it's clear you can have both doctrine and real characters.
This is a good primer on the doctrine of the unlimited sovereignty of God. The book is in an accessible conversation format, between an apparent inquisitive young christian and a seasoned Calvinist pastor. I thought that the discussion on free will was a little bit weak, not answering the main objections, however the analogy of actors and directors will resonate with some.

All in all this was a valuable and enjoyable read.
As good as any Socratic dialogue, as far as I'm concerned. Or better, since he didn't conclude with a recommendation to ban music and hold women in common. I could see this book being translated into Bantu three hundred years from now and included in the Bantu edition of "Evangelical and Post-Evangelical Fathers" set. Not because it's earth-shattering, but because, like every classic, it unites depth and simplicity.
This is a great book, that I recommend to all. A man approaches a pastor known as a "Calvinist" and converses with him over the course of several weeks on topics of salvation, election, total depravity, the atonement and so on. The dialogues are excellent, logical, and scriptural debates between the Arminian and Calvinist positions.

Tyler Cox
Great read about a conversation with a boy and his father on the doctrines of Grace
Fantastic book dealing with various issues relating to the sovereignty of God in all areas of life and doctrine, including salvation. Written as a dialogue between a Calvinistic pastor and an interested member of another denomination, this book is worth the read regardless of where you fall on the Calvinist-Arminian spectrum.
A fairly quick read. Pastor Wilson has a knack for putting difficult theological concepts in simple terms. This is a great introduction to the doctrines of grace! It doesn't interact with objections to a great extent, but gives good explanations and biblical support for some difficult doctrines.
Bunyan-style conversations on 'the five points' that are both theologically uncompromising and seriously readable. It's also another of Wilson's books which is irenic in spirit and perfectly suited to winning those of a contrary opinion.

Loved it.
Micah Neely
One of the books that most clearly explained what I was thinking when I got reformed.
Jacob Aitken
okay for beginners. Dodges the best arguments on both sides. If you want to improve your ability to write conversations in fiction, this book is actually decent at it!
Don Gale
A very helpful conversation on God's sovereignty. Easy read. Would recommend to any who are wrestling with questions of man's choice, election, limited atonement, etc.
Ryan Adair
This was wonderful. Reformed theology is presented in a fictional conversation between a young man and a pastor in town. This is a book that I'll return to again.
Tyler Dobbs
Excellent. A beautiful primer that makes good use of the phrase, coined by Pastor Mark Driscoll, "Soft words make hard hearts, hard words make soft hearts."
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I write in order to make the little voices in my head go away. Thus far it hasn't worked.
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