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Easy Chairs, Hard Words

4.27  ·  Rating Details  ·  290 Ratings  ·  51 Reviews
Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens. You will say to me then, "Why still find fault? For who has resisted His will?" But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? (Romans 9:18 20a) Hard words, indeed. But they remain, for all our explanations, God's words. Easy Chairs, Hard Words offers an honest look at many such difficult passages ...more
Paperback, 150 pages
Published June 20th 2011 by Canon Press (first published January 1st 1991)
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Josh Meares
Dec 15, 2013 Josh Meares rated it really liked it
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
Aug 20, 2008 Paul rated it it was ok
Shelves: calvinism
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
Phillip Ross
May 13, 2009 Phillip Ross rated it really liked it
Remarkable dialogs in the tradition of Socrates, except pertaining to Christianity in the contemporary world. Superb!
Andy Ward
Jan 03, 2015 Andy Ward rated it it was amazing
Fun book introducing the doctrines of grace. I wish more books were written in this style.
Laura Verret
Jan 04, 2011 Laura Verret rated it really liked it
Shelves: christianity
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
Oct 28, 2013 Joy rated it really liked it
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
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
Aug 27, 2014 Andrew Halsey rated it liked it
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
Nov 02, 2012 Jonathan Rodebaugh rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 15, 2013 Greg Balzer rated it it was amazing
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
Canon Press
Sep 21, 2011 Canon Press rated it it was amazing
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
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
Dec 29, 2007 Giselle rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 06, 2015 Kevin rated it it was amazing
Wilson explains heavy concepts in a surprisingly concise and readable way. A great help with learning about Calvinism if it's something you're new to. Recommended.
Mike Earl
Oct 14, 2014 Mike Earl rated it it was amazing
Excellent primer on Calvinism from Doug Wilson. Engaging, entertaining, and saturated in Scripture.
Kevin Davis
Jan 05, 2015 Kevin Davis rated it really liked it
The book read like an honest conversation about topics that need to be dealt with honestly.
Bruce Flanagan
Feb 19, 2014 Bruce Flanagan rated it it was amazing
Seriously one of the most incredible books I ever read
Matt Cline
Nov 29, 2014 Matt Cline rated it liked it
A wonderful book. A book that goes really well with Letters to Young Calvinists. The conversation in this book may be fictional but it reflects accurately the struggle and coming to a reformed doctrine of grace
And because Doug Wilson is the author the skill used in writing it is as good as it gets.

Not sure if this is book I would give an Arminian, certainly a young Calvinist though. Hence the three stars and not higher sure if this would be the work to convince them.
Hard to say I loved the read.
Lucas Bradburn
May 23, 2014 Lucas Bradburn rated it it was amazing
Shelves: calvinism
A very clever and helpful introduction to the doctrines of grace.
Oct 10, 2011 James rated it really liked it
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
Jun 18, 2011 Craig Houston rated it it was amazing
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.
May 08, 2011 Brian rated it liked it
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.
Jun 25, 2011 Clay rated it really liked it
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.
Dec 17, 2009 Kent rated it really liked it
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.
Matt Huff
Jul 19, 2015 Matt Huff rated it it was amazing
Well done. Quite an accessible and engaging read.
JR Snow
Dec 08, 2014 JR Snow rated it it was amazing
Simply beautiful. As a theology student, I am very familier with all of these issues, but Wilson communicates them so clearly that it is as if I am learning about the, for the first time, and really understanding them for the first time. I read a chapter of this book each day as part of my devotions, amd now that I've finished I want to begin reading it again.
Mar 12, 2010 John rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 18, 2014 Tyler Cox rated it really liked it
Great read about a conversation with a boy and his father on the doctrines of Grace
Jan 02, 2011 Rodney rated it it was amazing
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.
Apr 26, 2011 Kara rated it really liked it
Shelves: theology
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.
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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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