Saturday, January 17, 2015

Book Review: hand in Hand by Randy Alcorn

My Review:
God is sovereign. And God gives people the freedom of choices ("purposeful permission"). Some people have trouble reconciling God's sovereignty with human choice. In this book, Randy Alcorn thoroughly explores what the Bible says about this complicated, controversial issue. He also explains in great details about what Calvinists believe and what Arminians believe. His approach is well-balanced and he aims for unity among the Body of Christ. "There are better questions than 'Are you a Calvinist or an Arminian?' One of those is 'What does the Bible actually teach?' And 'Do you believe it?' Let's trust all of God's words, not just the ones that fit neatly into a preferred theological system or church tradition. That's my approach in this book." (p. 31)

Each chapter starts with Scriptures and an insightful quote. I really appreciate all the charts and diagrams since I'm a visual learner :). They are very helpful in comparing different views. The book includes small-group discussion questions. I am thankful that Randy Alcorn answers theological questions in a way that is easy to understand. 
I learned some new terms such as Determinism, Compatibilism, Monilism, Libertarianism, and Open Theism. This book will help readers understand God more deeply and appreciate the beautiful, mysterious interweaving of His sovereignty and meaningful human choice more. God's sovereignty does not negate human's responsibility! I'm forever grateful to be walking with God hand in Hand. Charles Spurgeon said, "There is no attribute of God more comforting to His children than that of God's sovereignty." I wholeheartedly agree! I enjoyed reading this excellent, thought-provoking book and highly recommend it to anyone!

"Both Arminian and Calvinist pastors continuously call upon their people to make choices to follow Christ, reject false doctrine, and embrace the truth (including the truth about God's sovereignty)...God can and does move the hearts of people to draw them toward himself, but while he empowers them to choose to believe, it's also true that they genuinely choose to believe." (p. 72)

"What seems clear in Scripture is that we choose and are accountable for our choices--yet God reigns over all, over everything he approves and disapproves of, including our choices. His hand is over us, yet our hand is in his." (p. 100)

"In that sense, God changes in his attitudes and actions in response to our repentance, prayers, or sin. But God doesn't change in his essence, character, knowledge, plans, or purposes. In those respects, we change; he doesn't." (p. 110)

"Choice is a bittersweet gift. Those in Heaven will always be grateful they had it and will have it always, with no fear of sin or condemnation; those in Hell will always regret that they didn't exercise it differently." (p. 149)

"In making our real and difficult choices, we depend upon God's empowerment." (p. 160)

"What we should take most seriously in forming our habits of thinking, action, prayer, and evangelism is not our theological systems but Scripture." (p. 212)

~I received a free copy of this book via Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

Randy AlcornRandy Alcorn is an author and the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries (EPM), a nonprofit ministry dedicated to teaching principles of God’s Word and assisting the church in ministering to the unreached, unfed, unborn, uneducated, unreconciled, and unsupported people around the world. His ministry focus is communicating the strategic importance of using our earthly time, money, possessions and opportunities to invest in need-meeting ministries that count for eternity. He accomplishes this by analyzing, teaching, and applying the biblical truth.

Before starting EPM in 1990, Randy served as a pastor for fourteen years. He has an MA degree in Biblical Studies from Multnomah University and an Honorary Doctorate from Western Seminary in Portland, Oregon and has taught on the adjunct faculties of both.

A New York Times bestselling author, Randy has written more than forty books, including the bestsellers Heaven, The Treasure Principle, and the Gold Medallion winner Safely Home. His books in print exceed seven million and have been translated into over thirty languages. Randy has written for many magazines including EPM’s quarterly issues-oriented magazine Eternal Perspectives. He is active daily on Facebook and Twitter, has been a guest on more than 700 radio, television and online programs including Focus on the Family, FamilyLife Today, Revive Our Hearts, The Bible Answer Man, and The Resurgence.

Randy and his wife Nanci have two married daughters and are the proud grandparents of five grandsons. Randy enjoys hanging out with his family, biking, tennis, research, and reading.

Randy Alcorn currently resides in Gresham, in the state of Oregon. 

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