Book Plunge Part 1: How Then Should We Choose?

What do I think of Douglas Huffman’s book published by Kregel? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

This book is a counterpoints book with three different authors (Or in the first case a group of authors) discussing their views on decision making and the will of God. You have the traditional view, the wisdom view, and the relationship view. I haven’t heard of the last one until now so I will see what I think of it when I get there, but going on, I hold to the wisdom view.

The first view presented is the traditional view also known as the specific-will view. In this case, which many of us grew up with, God has a specific will for your life and you need to find it to get God’s best. This includes where you go to school, who you marry, and many other decisions. This chapter is written by Henry and Richard Blackaby.

There is a lot of wisdom here, but the oddity is that it comes mainly when they actually talk about using wisdom instead of their view. The case for their view I did find extremely weak. I suspect the reason many evangelicals hold to it is tradition and also, it makes the emphasis be on us. Our natural proclivity is to self-centeredness.

The Blackabys write on how God spoke in the past to people like Moses, and indeed He did, but most of us don’t have bushes catching on fire in front of us without burning up and even in the text itself, it regularly says that God spoke to Moses like He did to no one else. If the Blackaby view was true, why was Moses even needed at all? Couldn’t all the Israelites in the wilderness experienced the leading of God and known what to do?

That is a key weakness of the position. It looks at the exceptional times and presents them as the normative times. We know about what was said to Moses. We don’t know beyond what the text tells us what Joe Israelite thought, aside from the time where they begged Moses to NOT have God speak to them and this was after God spoke to them from the mountain.

I also notice that when examples are given, it is examples of someone who made the decision, but I don’t see what happens after they make it. Maybe what they thought God was leading them to do turned into a disaster later. I remember Greg Koukl talking once about how he was not looking forward to Christmas one year and he was driving praying for a good Christmas and the next thing he noticed, the truck in front of him on the back said “Xmas4U” on it. Yes! Confirmation! God heard his prayer! The traditional view worked! Koukl thought so.

So he went and had a great Christmas.

No. Wait. He says he ended up having a miserable Christmas that year.

The comparisons of how God speaks are also not the same. In the times of the prophets, they were certain God had spoken to them. Now if you have the experience of Isaiah where God calls you up into His heavenly temple, yes, you can be sure God is speaking to you. What do we have instead? Inner impressions and a still small voice supposedly. Those are way too vague.

How many times have you gone to bed very anxious about something and when you woke up the next day, the anxiety was gone? Happens to me several times. Should I be heeding that nudging every time of anxiety? Should I see that strong impression as God telling me something?

The traditional view has many people fearful of making the wrong choice so many times that they tend to get stifled in their pursuits. While the Blackabys do encourage going to Scripture, too many times we focus on our own experience instead of Scripture. I remember my ex went through a lot of times where she was paying attention to dreams wondering what God was telling her. I told her, “If only you spent as much time trying to understand Scripture, which you know comes from God, as you do dreams, which you don’t know come from God.”

Next time we look at this book, we will discuss the wisdom view. I’m on that chapter now and I do agree with much of it, but there are some criticisms. Stay tuned.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

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