Thursday, May 27, 2004

Making Decisions and the Will of God

Hey guys!

This isn't a formal update of my activities so much as it is an update of the thoughts that have been running through my mind while I've been here. I've shared this with a few of you, but I thought I'd get some larger feedback, see what everyone thinks about this.

I've been reading a book while I've been here called "Making Decisions and the Will of God." It is by Pastor/Dr. Garry Friesen. Basically, Dr. Friesen outlines two approaches to decision making in the Christian community. One he calls the traditional view. The traditional view works like this: God has three wills. These are his sovereign will, which dictates everything that will happen in the universe towards our ultimate good and his ultimate glory and cannot be known; his moral will, which is found in the Biblical revelation and contains all of the guidelines a believer needs for holy and righteous living; and his individual will, which is his unique, ideal, detailed life plan for each believer. This individual will is the one which is difficult to discover, such as figuring out where to go to college, whether and whom to marry, or what to do for a vocation. By the traditional view, the individual will is discovered by correlation of the signs, which are: the Bible, mature counsel, inner witness, circumstances, personal desires, common sense, and special guidance. By paying attention to these signs and determining the correlation of them, we can know God's will for our life.

At least, that's the traditional view. Dr. Friesen says that this is view is an incorrect understanding of the Bible. He spends the second part of his book giving a Biblical critique of this view, and then spends the third part laying out what he considers to be the Biblical approach to decision making, what he calls the wisdom view. By this view, there is no "individual will" of God. Christian freedom allows us to make decisions in our lives based on the revealed moral will of God, though we must make them with wisdom and spiritual expediency in mind. Thus, there is no right or wrong answer to the question of "Where should I go to college?" or "What should I do for a living?" If there is no moral prohibition against it, then the roadsigns, tempered by wisdom, may dictate your decisions.

What do you think? To some, this may seem very radical, and I understand, as it goes against everything we've been taught in our churches. Have we been wrong? Dr. Friesen certainly makes a very compelling case Biblically, though I cannot lay out the entire thing here. If you wish, you would do well to read the book.

Myself . . . I'm inclined to agree with him, but my jury is still out. That's part of why I'm putting this on here. What does everyone think? Do you have questions or objections? If I've left out important details, I'll try to fill in as I go, but I want to know what everyone thinks about this. Please, let me know!


No comments: