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Four Views on Divine Providence (Counterpoints)

3.78  ·  Rating Details ·  120 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
Questions about divine providence have preoccupied Christians for generations: Are people elected to salvation? For whom did Jesus die? This book introduces readers to four prevailing views on divine providence, with particular attention to the question of who Jesus died to save (the extent of the atonement) and if or how God determines who will be saved (predestination).B ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published March 22nd 2011 by Zondervan (first published March 4th 2011)
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Jul 24, 2011 Dan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a very enlightening read that helped confirm what I already suspected was true. Paul Kjoss Helseth depicted are grotesque picture of God as an omni-derigent all-causing control freak who is responsible for all human action... yet then tried to claim human being still have moral responsibility. Ron Highfield was not much better, although he denied the sort of omni-causality that Helseth proposes. However, his solution to resolving divine foreknowledge and human free will was to resort to ...more
Pastor Matt
Dec 20, 2013 Pastor Matt rated it liked it
A difficult read for a counterpoint entry but worth working through if you can do it. However, I would recommend familiarizing yourself with the four views of Calvinism, Arminianism, Molinism and Open Theism before reading these four scholars interact (sometimes sharply) with each other.
Nicholas Quient
Sep 02, 2012 Nicholas Quient rated it really liked it
Shelves: theology
Boyd and Craig are the standouts here.
Jeremiah Parker
Sep 30, 2013 Jeremiah Parker rated it liked it
Two authors, Highfield and Helseth, present their view that God controls all things. Though their views differ slightly(?), neither suggests that God is evil. Both maintain that God wills all human sin. The problem of evil is resolved by denying the reality and permanence of evil. What seems to us to be evil now will, in the end, actually be seen as good.

Craig presents his version of Molinism. The idea is that prior to creation God considered all of the possible and feasible worlds inhabited by
This is a great book that gives four potential theological stances in regards to divine providence. The four views presented are:

"God Causes All Things" by Paul Kjoss Helseth
"God Directs All Things" by William Lane Craig
"God Controls By Liberating" by Ron Highfield
"God Limits His Control" by Gregory A. Boyd

For each viewpoint, an expert holding that belief describes all the reasons that he feels this is the best theological point of view. Then the other three theologians/scholars take time to res
Feb 13, 2013 Jon rated it really liked it
Excellent overview of the issue along with strong interaction between the contributors. To echo something Dr. Craig said in a podcast, I wish that they would have had a contributor who defended something of a mystery view, something to the effect of "God is sovereign, man is free, and how these things work together is just a mystery we have to live with!" Such a contributor would have been a more helpful addition than Ron Highfield, who along with espousing almost the same view as Paul Helseth, ...more
Jon Siskey jr.
Feb 13, 2013 Jon Siskey jr. rated it really liked it
Excellent overview of the issue along with strong interaction between the contributors. To echo something Dr. Craig said in a podcast, I wish that they would have had a contributor who defended something of a mystery view, something to the effect of "God is sovereign, man is free, and how these things work together is just a mystery we have to live with!" Such a contributor would have been a more helpful addition than Ron Highfield, who along with espousing almost the same view as Paul Helseth, ...more
J. Eric
Deeply philosophical...

...Not deeply enough Scriptural. This is not to say that the philosophies contained here-in are not important in their own right, but only that philosophy should be secondary to Scripture-icity where Christian theology is concerned. I did appreciate the depth of thought clearly undergone by the contributors as well as the occasional use of humor in some of the rebuttals. In the end, most readers (including myself) will probably either need to work through the material slow
Dave Courtney
Apr 15, 2013 Dave Courtney rated it really liked it
Very good presentation and intro in to the constructs of Molinist and open theism. I tend towards the feeling that Boyd's and Craig's writings and responses are the most entertaining, fulfilling, challenging and provoking of the book. They happen to represent open theism. The other two are much less so, which might be a downfall for a book that is supposed to represent dialogue between the two sides. I found Helseth's critiques even less intriguing than his actual presentation, even as his prese ...more
Ray Ruppert
This was a very interesting book because it the four views of divine providence range from the solid biblical viewpoint to the outlandish and contradictory concepts of open theism. Each author states his case then the other three present a response. It was instructive to see what the proponents of the absurd had to say for themselves in contrast with the critical responses from the opposition. You must be able to analyze as you read to get the most out of this book or you will end up agreeing wi ...more
Brent McCulley
May 25, 2014 Brent McCulley rated it really liked it
Shelves: theology
Excellent dialogue. Worth the read. Helseth's critique of Boyd's essay is actually better than his essay arguing in favor of his position, and also Craig's essay is really well articulated as well. Great stuff in here. Albeit I hold to a deterministic scheme a la the Reformed confessions, this discussion was both encouraging and fruitful, and helped me honestly understand both Molinism and Open theism better than I had hitherto.
G Walker
I have about had it now with the point and counter point series... that said... this one had some great pastoral insights... for all my disagreements with Boyd... I found some of his pastoral concerns actually worthy of considering... Again, I do NOT agree with his solutions... but as to the questions that need to be answered (given how this whole topic has played out in the abstract and ethereal) I think we need to at least listen to what he is saying.
Jul 02, 2012 Matt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The difference between the two Calvinist viewpoints is minimal, making this more like a 3.33 views book. However, all 4 of the contributions are worth reading, and the responses add much to the discussion. I would have liked to have seen a response to the responses, but not an infinite regress (!).

2 Calvinists, and Open Theist and a Molinist.
Aug 24, 2012 Kyle rated it really liked it
Excellent intro to Molinism and Open Theism by two of those views' ablest defenders (Craig and Boyd). Their responses to one another are excellent as well. Suffers, however, from the other two essays, one of which is almost worthless. The two mentioned, however, are good enough on their own to earn 4 stars.
Dec 25, 2014 Justin rated it liked it
The four contributors do a good job of explaining their positions, but in the end very little is accomplished in their interactions. This is a good survey of 4 positions on the providence of God and the free will of man, but one will need to study much further if they seeking information to help form their own understanding.
Aug 11, 2012 Jason rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theology

This book's main mistake was the inclusion of 2 Calvinist views on the topic - one would have been fine.
It's surprising that they didn't include an Arminian account of providence. Boyd's account of Open Theism (which I reject), was helpful in understanding what that view believes.
Josh Shelton
Aug 10, 2013 Josh Shelton rated it really liked it
I had alot of fun reading this. The Reformed guy (Helseth) knew the Scriptures the best, it seemed apparent, though Haywood was very versed as well. Craig is smart, but Scripturally he gets bludgeoned by Helseth.
Jeffrey Backlin
Mar 15, 2014 Jeffrey Backlin rated it liked it
Shelves: theology, debate
Good debate between 2-3 positions. Unfortunately, the fourth view is so similar to the other reformed view that it seemed to take up room where another view could have taken its place.
Jun 18, 2012 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A tough slow read requiring a lot of thought but, in the end, very helpful.
May 31, 2016 Noah rated it really liked it
Though I disagree with him, I must admit that Craig walks away with it here.
Pieter Lombaard
Jun 11, 2013 Pieter Lombaard rated it really liked it
A great book for quick insight into the deeper issues of the faith. Great for getting quick insight into the main views on divine providence but hard in making a personal clear cut decision :)
Leslie rated it liked it
Jul 20, 2012
Randy Hohf
Randy Hohf rated it liked it
Sep 26, 2014
Steve rated it really liked it
May 15, 2013
Richie Clark
Richie Clark rated it liked it
Nov 13, 2014
Justin rated it liked it
Dec 01, 2011
Ll rated it it was amazing
Dec 20, 2014
Kenneth E Peters
Kenneth E Peters rated it it was amazing
Apr 24, 2014
Robert Beard
Robert Beard rated it really liked it
Dec 25, 2015
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  • Three Views on the Millennium and Beyond
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  • No One Like Him: The Doctrine of God
  • Two Views on Women in Ministry
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  • The Only Wise God: The Compatibility of Divine Foreknowledge & Human Freedom
  • The God Who Risks: A Theology of Divine Providence
  • The Doctrine of God (Contours of Christian Theology, #1)
  • Four Views on the Historical Adam
  • Chosen But Free
  • Four Views on the Book of Revelation
  • Arminian Theology: Myths and Realities
  • Why I Am Not a Calvinist
  • Three Views on the Rapture: Pre; Mid; or Post-Tribulation
  • The Gospel of Luke
  • Five Views on Apologetics
  • Young, Restless, No Longer Reformed: Black Holes, Love, and a Journey in and Out of Calvinism

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Counterpoints (1 - 10 of 34 books)
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  • Five Views on Apologetics
  • Five Views on Biblical Inerrancy
  • Five Views on Sanctification (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology)
  • Five Views on Law and Gospel
  • Four Views on Hell
  • Understanding Four Views on Baptism (Counterpoints: Church Life)
  • Four Views on Eternal Security
  • Four Views on the Spectrum of Evangelicalism
  • Four Views on the Apostle Paul (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology)

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“(1) each entity possesses a freedom and causality of its own, which can resist the divine purpose, and (2) God’s loving character precludes his violating the freedom of particular things by determining what they will or will not do. God, in the view of process theists, acts only by persuasion.42 Both” 0 likes
“Captain Smith,” Jackson thoughtfully responds, “my religious belief teaches me to feel as safe in battle as in bed. God has fixed the time for my death; I do not concern myself with that, but to be always ready, whenever it may overtake me. That is the way all men should live; then all men would be equally brave.” While” 0 likes
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