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Decision Making and the Will of God: A Biblical Alternative to the Traditional View

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  795 ratings  ·  97 reviews
Does God Have a Perfect Will for Your Life?

Does God have a perfect will for each Christian? Can you be absolutely certain of God’s specific will for your life? In this expanded twenty-fifth anniversary edition of his highly acclaimed work, Garry Friesen examines the prevalent view on God’s will today and provides a sound biblical alternative to the traditional teaching o
Paperback, 25th Anniversary Edition, 528 pages
Published August 11th 2004 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
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
Dec 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-to-reread
What a powder-keg! If taken as the author intended, this book is one if the most important books I've read in my Christian Life.

Some have taken Friesen to places he never intended and lunched themselves into Christian hedonism. This book does not promote that.

It does promote the development of wisdom, and making sound decisions based on Scripture, logic, and counsel. It's been a great help for me to not only make decisions but to guide those who ask for counsel.
Feb 26, 2011 rated it liked it
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
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
Daniel Ligon
Aug 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
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.
May 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Tyler Thompson
Aug 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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
Hayden Stringer
Sep 25, 2015 rated it liked it
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.
Dianne Oliver
Mar 04, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: religion
All this seemed utterly obvious to me. However, lots of people should read this, because I hear these fallacies a lot.
Jacob O'connor
Dec 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I first read "Decision Making" back in college. I was a brand new Christian. I wanted to "do God's will", but I didn't know what that was. Should I drop of of art school and go into ministry? Should I become a missionary? Should I marry my high school sweetheart? Someone told me about Garry Friesen, and it was a game changer. No longer am I shaking a magic 8ball. Trying to figure out what God is up to. Nope, I'm using my head. Allowing God to transform me through His word and making good choices ...more
Chad Warner
May 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Christians
Recommended to Chad by: Pastor Dodds
This is a much-needed correction of widespread misunderstandings of how God guides our decision-making. It gives biblical, practical decision-making principles.

Many Christians believe what this book calls the "traditional view," which is that to make a decision, we must know God's "individual will" (His will for a specific person in a particular circumstance). This book shows how that view is unbiblical, that the Bible is all we need to make a decision (to know and do God's will), and that we ha
Feb 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
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
Oct 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
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
Brian Davis
Feb 22, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
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. :) ...more
First Name Name
Mar 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A classic book that should be read by all Christians who want to understand the topic of the will of God. Friessen does an exellent job of dismantling a tradional view of understanding the topic of God's will and then build the case for a more proper, Biblical understanding of the will of God. The traditonal viewpoint is built more on superstition rather than the Bible and says that we have to find the center of God's will for our life. The proper understanding that Friessen shows is built of th ...more
Steve Lockwood
Jun 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
God doesn’t have a specific plan for each person that we must discover and then try to live out. This idea is false. God does have a plan on how everything in history will work together for good but we are not privy to the details. So, what we ought to focus on is using wisdom to make decisions about our lives. The Bible is clear that wisdom is a tool we need to develop to make good choices.
Jacinta Sheridan
Great book, very clear but does repeat itself a lot. His idea that you must choose the wisest path is not true I think, otherwise in 1 Corinthians 7, Paul wouldn't let the Corinthians choose marriage as it is less wise than staying single. But we have freedom to do the less wise option as christians!
John Rimmer
Dec 31, 2017 rated it liked it
Haven't finished yet, but I really appreciated the first three parts of the book and how it moves you away from a mystical, immature vision of God's guidance and leading. It put together for me the reality that God grants wisdom with the expectation that you'll grow up and use it.
Jeff Turnbough
Aug 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I call this book a watershed book in my life and my Christian life. I read it right after it came out in 1980, and it changed my whole perspective on decision-making and the will of God.

I have purchased a whole case or box of this book to distribute to friends.
Alen Andrews
Dec 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An exhaustive and comprehensive overview and helpful critique of the modern conception of seeking God's will and seeking God's guidance for decisions. This book contains great exegetical work and practical application. It is both freeing and resourceful.
Mike Otazu
Aug 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Extremely helpful. Lengthly but worth the time and effort to work through the material. Friesen presents and argument for a decision making process that is rooted in Scriptural truth. I highly recommend this book too all, especially young people.
Jonathon Ross
Dec 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
An excellent discourse on a biblical view of the will of God. This was largely helpful for a Sunday school class I taught where several adults were both relieved and amazed in discovering a clear presentation on this topic.
Rod Innis
Aug 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Christians who have trouble making decisions or are constantly doubting their decisions should read this book. It will be a great help as it shows from Scripture how we should make decisions.
John A.
Dec 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book which I read over 30 years ago and it has helped me understand this important issue.
May 08, 2018 rated it liked it
This book is extremely thorough. ExTREMEly. Thorough.
Johnny Peebles
Apr 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: theology
This biblical view of decision making has built-up my faith in God’s sovereignty, and encouraged me to walk in the wisdom that the Lord has provided for us in the Scriptures.
Herbie H Cordle
May 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Eye opening.
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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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