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Decision Making and the Will Of God: A Biblical Alternative to the Traditional View (Classic Critical Concern)

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  598 Ratings  ·  77 Reviews
Friesen carefully examines the major views presented today, and rejects them to propose a different one--one he believes more accurately reflects the biblical teaching.
Paperback, 462 pages
Published January 1st 2000 by Multnomah (first published January 1st 1980)
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Jun 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Amy by: Signe
This was a bit of preaching to the choir because I went in agreeing with the author but I still enjoyed it. Somewhat dated but challenging, nonetheless.
Lee Scoresby
Sep 12, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the truly scary things about religion is the way people can use it to justify the most outrageous and indefensible claims about what we should do and what we should think. This book teaches a much more logical religion, and one that takes a lot of this danger away.

It astounded me when I was a Bible college student back in 1982 how many different people firmly and sincerely believed they had been the honoured by direct revelations from God that were so self-serving. A beautiful woman would
Feb 26, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh, hi!

So the funny thing about this book is that I picked it up at a used book sale a few years ago, when I was debating in my mind about the whole "will o' God" thing. Since that time, I have settled my conclusions in my mind, and they are pretty much the same as what the book wanted to convince me to believe. So it turned out I didn't need to read the book at all!

The main point (okay...the only point) of the book is that God does not have a specific will for your life. He doesn't intend for y
Dec 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-library
Next to the Bible probably the most important book any modern Christian should read. Will correct many misinterpretations of scripture. When we speak of God's will for your life - it is the same as God's will for my life. It is fully revealed to us already as his moral will and has nothing to do with what we wear, our occupation, who we choose for our spouse, where we go on vacation, etc. Too many people worry about these things - when we are free to choose and competent to choose these things f ...more
May 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing
As a follower of Christ does God have an individual will for my life that I am expected to decipher? Before I read Dr. Friesen’s book I would have answered yes and explained – using a lot of buzzwords like “still small voice” and “center of God’s will” – that this opaque search is something you get better at as you spiritually mature.

Yet my personal experience was not matching this and I started wondering that if God were concerned about guiding me in the big things in life (school, career, marr
Dianne Oliver
Mar 04, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religion
All this seemed utterly obvious to me. However, lots of people should read this, because I hear these fallacies a lot.
Feb 08, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A few thoughts on this books
- Friesen does an great job explaining the "traditional" view of decision making making. His critique is Scriptural and logical. He explains the faulty thinking behind the view with wonderful clarity.
- He also does an good job explaining, what he calls, the Way of Wisdom - which is simply Learning to understand the Scriptures and apply God's Word to life choices. And when God's Word doesn't speak specifically to an area we must, with Wisdom (and within God's Moral L
This book was a pleasure to read. The style is simple, and what he writes about is common sense, and it's easy to see that his views are biblically based. This book was originally published in the 80's but it is still very relevant today since Christians of all sorts are attempting to discern God's will for their personal lives. I think every Christian needs to read this in order to see that God expects every Christian to make wise decisions using the mind that God not only gave everyone but is ...more
Jul 27, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A nearly heretical text meant for a generally Christian audience.
It's well written, and exhaustively explores the subject of God's will as it pertains to the decisions Christians make, from the largest to the smallest.
Does God have an individual plan for each human life, down to the smallest detail, or does he simply provide the foundational character traits necessary for you to plan and execute your own life?
An enlightening view into what motivates and sustains the Christian worldview from bot
Hayden Stringer
I wish I could give this book higher ratings. The first 100 pages changed my opinion on decision making and were freeing. But the rest of the book (another 323 pages) felt extremely repetitive. It turned into a book on wisdom and what wisdom is in different areas of life. I think this book could be two completely separate books or shortened to 150-200 pages. But I recommend everyone to read the first 100.
Daniel Ligon
Aug 13, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christian
A very thorough book on the will of God. Friesen's conclusion is that we should use wisdom to make good decisions within God's commands rather than attempting to find God's "perfect will" for our lives. I agree with the bulk of his arguments, though some of the specifics of his application are a bit off, in my opinion. This book is still a very good read that will either challenge your interpretation of the Biblical will of God or (as in my case) confirm it.
Brian Davis
Feb 22, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was wonderful for me to read. Sometimes we use God's "will" as a crutch to lessen our responsibility for following the commands that he has made completely clear through scripture. I think in spots the author goes a little overboard to make his point and almost gives the impression that God is not that concerned with day to day decisions. Overall, however, great book.
Jul 12, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What you won't hear in a typical sermon on God's will...but don't read it unless you're prepared to make some people uncomfortable & defend your position once you get on the "untraditional view of God's will" soapbox. :)
Douglas Wilson
Tyler Thompson
Aug 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Friesen presents a thorough and responsible examination of the biblical data regarding divine guidance and decision making. The "traditional view" to which he offers an alternative teaches that each Christian must discern God's one, perfect, individual will for his or her life in order to faithfully make decisions. Friesen dubs his alternative"The Way of Wisdom", which follows four principles:

1. Where God commands, we must obey.
2. Where there is no command, God gives us the freedom (and respo
Oct 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed the book. I can understand those that felt it was long and perhaps redundant. However, I found it to be pleasantly thorough. (view spoiler) ...more
Filip Sekkelsten
Eksellent bok om Guds vilje for individet. Helt enig med Friesen at det ikke finnes en individuell vilje for hver person, og at dette synet har flere bibelske problemer. Hvordan han tar et oppgjør med kallsbegrepet er også viktig og grundig. Leste ikke de første to delene da det ikke var nødvendig i øyeblikket (beskrivelsen av det tradisjonelle synet etterfulgt av en kritikk).
Steffan Bard
I took a week and a half to read through this.

One thing I'll say is that most likely a person who will read this book is a person who doesn't really need to. The book is very thorough. That is plus because it supports its claims very well. However, like I said, a person who will probably actually read through this whole book will probably not need all the exact point by point and passage by passage elucidation. At least, I felt this was true for me.

What I took from it personally, though I felt t
Jan 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book! I went into it expecting a difficult theological plod, but it actually reads very easily. Friesen basically says that the way the majority of American Christians make decisions isn't really biblical. Most of us live by the belief that God has one perfect plan in mind for our lives. At each decision crossroad, we must discover what God's will is for our lives so that we can continue to live by the plan that God has designed for our lives.

Friesen argues that this just isn't sup
Vivien Naomi Lee
I really enjoyed the first part of the book. Not the narrative but the dissection of the traditional view and wisdom view. It was interesting and thoughtful and intellectual but I really felt that the book was perhaps too long and long-winded in application of the wisdom view.

I am not sure if it's because I was probably a secret follower of the wisdom view anyway so it didn't take me much effort to agree and to understand what the author meant, without all his disclaimers and justifications. So
Mar 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I purchased a copy of this book from one of the authors, who happened to be my Pastor. I was anxious to read it, because for many years we had followed his progress in writing this Biblical guide. When I got it, I could not put it down. I read it from cover to cover, then wished I had held a highlighter while I read through it the first time, because now I was going to have to read it again and highlight various passages along the way!

Virtually everybody - even those who consider themselves athe
Having difficulty discerning what is best for me, I picked up this book to read based on a recommendation by Timothy Keller from Presbyterian Redeemer Church. The book is divided into 4 sections, study guide, and several appendices, including an index of FAQs. The first section or two lays out the author's thesis: there is no individual will of God for our lives. That is, he hasn't an opinion on what shoes you should wear or whether you should eat cereal or toast for breakfast in the morning. Th ...more
May 08, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tempted to give this 5-stars because it's probably the best decision-making/will-of-God book out there (but it's the only one I've really read so don't feel entirely comfortable going on record/5-stars for that statement).

The individual chapters about specific wisdom for certain topics was pretty good, but I think the first 7 chapters laying out the "Biblical-Alternative" View (vs. the Traditional View) and the last 2 chapters about wisdom when Christians differ are what make this such a great
Jan 28, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting perspective that helped me clear through the fog of what God's will really is for my life. We often hear that we did something because it was God’s will for me. But God’s direct commands to people only came during the Church’s formative years and the beginnings of Israel... Some passages include: "God clearly has the ability to develop an individual will for your life, but it is wrong to contend that God’s orderliness demands that he create us a specific plan." and "God is like ...more
Noel Burke
Oct 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was the revised 2nd edition. I'll admit, this was a long book (423 pages), but if you allow yourself to go through this book you will glean a whole score of knowledge about what God's will is, how does it affect me, the difference between God's sovereign and moral will, and many other things. The basic premise looks at the traditional view that many Christians have (God has an individual will for your life and you have to find that "dot" to stay on or you are outside of God's will) and asse ...more
Jeff Shelnutt
I read this book a few years ago, so I'm going on memory here. The author's thesis is basically that there may actually be more than one choice an individual can make when confronted with a decision and still be in "God's will." This flies in the face of the traditional approach that says God has one perfect will for each choice and one either finds it or doesn't. I realize that the obscuring nature of time is causing me to over-simplifying this.

I was spurred to look at certain passages out of t
Scott Denbow
Feb 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was huge for me.

It answers and supports the perennial question, "how do I find the will of God for my life in decision-making?" The author, a seminary professor at Multnomah Bible College in Oregon, does an excellent job of breaking down this question and delineating between God's sovereign will (we can't know this except in the rearview mirror), God's moral will (the commands contained in Scripture), and areas of freedom (non-commanded areas where we have the freedom and responsibili
Jan 19, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book would get 5 stars if 'Guidance and the Voice of God' by Jensen and Payne hadn't been written.

Too many Christians hold to what Friesen calls the 'traditional view' of guidance and God's will, and this book is a thorough refutation of the theology that stands behind this view and builds a strong case for the 'Wisdom' view of guidance and God's will.

However, Jensen and Payne's book builds the same case in around 1/5 of the pages, and with a more gospel centric theological method, so for m
Jul 30, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2009
This book challenges the traditional view of God’s will and breaks down God’s will into Sovereign, Individual, and Moral. As I read along I realized that my beliefs were really more in line as to what they were saying than the standard traditional view. God has ultimate control, but wants us to follow His moral will in decisions, big and small, and we have freedom of choice.
This is a big book and you may not find it necessary to thoroughly read it, it is chalk full of illustrations, scriptural e
Oct 14, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christian-living
There are only 2 problems with this book. One is that that he labels "traditional" the view that I can discover the perfect will of of God for my life by learning to discern which of the voices in my head is actually the voice of God speaking to my heart. This idea is actually relatively recent (since the Keswick movement in the 1870s). He systematically demolishes this view in favor of the biblical view of wisdom for decision-making. The other problem is that this book is very thorough. Not eve ...more
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“Christians are to avoid foolish living. Wise living understands the folly of immorality and the value of doing whatever is pleasing to the Lord. The days are so evil, and the need for properly functioning, serving Christians is so great, wise Christians will make good use of their time, taking opportunities for ministry as they come. Knowledge of the moral will of God will give discernment not only between good and evil, but between what is wise and what is foolish.” 0 likes
“Sometimes in order to understand what is right, we have to first recognize what is wrong.” 0 likes
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