Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Decision Making and the Will of God – Part 9

I am in the process of reviewing Friesen’s book, “Decision Making and the Will of God.” In the previous instalment I finished Part 3 of the book in which the Way of Wisdom, the method promoted by Friesen, is explained.

This post, the last, starts Part 4, Deciding the Big Ones: The Wisdom View Applied. Part 4 is also the last part of the book moving from chapter 19 to the last chapter, 26. Friesen uses this part of the book to look practically at how to implement the Wisdom View.

A thought that Friesen repeats a lot in this part in order to make the mind remember it, and also to make sure that the Wisdom View is not misunderstood is that any decision that is to be made “is regulated by the moral will of God, but not determined by it.” (p293-294) In other words, if you are looking for a new job, the moral will of God regulates how you make your decision, but it does not determine where you work.

This part of the book deals with singleness and marriage (ch19), marriage as a subject (ch20), the ministry (ch21), missions (ch22), vocation and education (ch23), giving (ch24), when Christians differ (ch25) and finally weaker brothers and pharisees (ch26).

As Friesen tackles each of these subjects, he looks at some of the important Biblical passages related to each of them and shows how they relate to the wisdom view. In each of these chapters, Friesen shows that guidance through some inner impressions or some “word” from God is not necessary, but an application of the wisdom view will guide you well. In order to prove his point he looks at several passages from the Bible that at first glance seem to back up the traditional view rather than the wisdom view.

Through proper exegesis, Friesen shows that many of these passages simply cannot carry the weight of demanded evidence needed by the traditional view.

Friesen also points to the fact that the wisdom view is very much based on wisdom gleaned from the Bible, and that it is imperative that Christians actually get to know their Bibles through Bible study.

For instance, in the chapter on giving (ch24)(p372) he shows the following:


  1. Old testament tithing has been superceded by New Testament grace giving.
  2. The “faith promise” method of giving is unbiblical though it correctly encourages prayer and generous giving.
  3. Grace giving is purposeful, proportionate giving as God has prospered you.
  4. Giving priorities are immediate family first, then relatives, local church, gospel outreach. relief of believers, relief of unbelievers.

I know that this will probably ruffle many feathers, but the exegesis is done properly and this part of Friesen’s book simply must be read. It blows a whole lot of holy cows out the water!

This part of the book, dealing with practical issues that Christians around the world battle with on a daily basis, is very important, since it really puts the mind at ease. It shows how we do not need special words from God to accomplish our life’s work.

In concluding the book, Friesen once again, in summary form gives us the four principles of decision making in the wisdom view (p421):


  1. Where God commands, we must obey (chapter 8).
  2. Where there is no command, God gives us freedom (and responsibility) to choose (chapter 9).
  3. Where there is no command, God gives us wisdom to choose (chapters 10 and 11).
  4. When we have chosen what is moral and wise, we must trust the sovereign God to work all the details together for good (chapters 12 and 13).

Finally, the book closes off with three appendices. Appendix one is a review of books on finding God’s will. These reviews include books from both the traditional and the wisdom views. Appendix 2 gives pointers on painless Scripture memory and Appendix 3 gives guidelines on Bible marathons. A Bible marathon is where up to about 15 people get together to read through large portions of the Bible together.

Having read the book and now reviewed it, I am convinced that this book is a book of liberty. For too long we have been conned into thinking that if we did not have clear personal guidance from the Lord that we could not move forward, and was probably living in sin and that was why we did not hear God. Further, that idea put pressure on people to perform spiritually somehow to get these “words.”

The wisdom view frees us from all that, and the kicker is this, it is the Biblical view. I am sure many can give testimonies of how God led them in the past, but that is at best anecdotal. The Bible is our only rule of life and faith, and the wisdom view encapsulates that.

It is my opinion, that if you have never considered this view of guidance, that you should buy Garry Friesen’s “Decision Making and the Will of God” today, and see whether it changes your life or not!

If you discovered this review for the first time in this post, go to the first post to start reading this review.

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