Monday, March 12, 2007

Decision Making and the Will of God - Part 3

We are now in chapter 4 of Garry Friesen's book, Decision Making and the Will of God. See the previous installment here.

Friesen takes the time in this chapter to look at many of the passages used by the Traditional View proponents to prove their Traditional View.

Friesen deals with the following passages:
Ps 32:8; Prov 3:5-6; 16:9; Is 30:20-21;
Jn 5:19; Jn 10:3-4, 16, 27; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:10; 5:15-17; Col 1:9; 4:12.

Friesen deals with each of these passages very well. It doesn't take too long to see how the proponents of the Traditional View employed very weak hermeneutics to get to their interpretation of these passages.

He looks at each passage, asking whether that passage could be speaking of the individual will of God or the moral will of God.

All of these passages can be shown to be speaking of the moral will of God and not the individual will of God, except for one that could go either way without any solid proof.

That one is Eph 2:10. According to Friesen this verse can have 3 possible interpretations:

The Traditional View proponents would say that God has prepared good works for each of us and that we should seek to find out what these are so that we could walk in them. Further, the first non-individual-will interpretation says that these good works are only described in general terms. "Since good works are one of the purposes for which Christians are created, the idea could be that God prepared those works 'beforehand' by providing what was needed for their accomplishment."[1] God created new creatures through the new creation capable of performing these good works. Lastly, the second non-individual-will interpretation looks at these works that were prepared beforehand "from the perspective of God's sovereignty."[2] Friesen prefers the last interpretation, but does feel that all three interpretations "come closer to being equal" than any of the other verses he has discussed up until this point. Friesen concludes the study of this verse by saying that "either side could use this verse in support of their position, but neither side could use Ephesians 2:10 to prove their position."[3]

What Friesen essentially shows in this chapter is that under careful scrutiny, proper exegesis demonstrates that the relevant passages do not "support the basic premise of the traditional view."[4]

Having looked at the way Friesen handles the relevant passages, I must say that I agree with his interpretation and that it is actually quite easy to see why he interprets them the way he does. In fact, with every passage that he introduced, I came to the same conclusions that he did, before I read his material.

Continue with Part 4 here.

[1] Friesen, p68.
[2] Ibid.
[3] Friesen, p69.
[4] Friesen, p75.
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