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Determined to Believe is written for those who are interested in or even troubled by questions about God's sovereignty and human freedom and responsibility.
John Lennox writes in the spirit of helping people to get to grips with the biblical treatment of this issue for themselves. In this comprehensive review of the topic of theological determinism, Lennox seeks firstly to define the problem, looking at the concepts of freedom, the different kinds of determinism, and the moral problems these pose. He then equips the reader with biblical teaching on the topic and explores the spectrum of theological opinion on it.
Following this Lennox delves deeper into the Gospels and then investigates what we can learn regarding determinism and responsibility from Paul's discussion in Romans on God's dealings with Israel. Finally Lennox tackles the issue of Christian assurance.
This nuanced and detailed study challenges some of the widely held assumptions in the area of theological determinism and brings a fresh perspective to the debate.
This has to be one of the most significant books written in Britain over the last few years. John Lennox has dared to tackle what is becoming a cultic imposition of a theological system upon Scripture, which has had such a detrimental effect on evangelism in our land. He has gone through the system point by point and sought to bring us back to Scripture. It is a must read for every Christian leader.
What can I say. Not for the faint hearted but it does make a difficult topic accessible for the interested reader. It is very wide ranging in its scope and John Lennox is always excellent in explaining terminology rather than taking for granted that everyone is familiar with theological terms. While it doesn't offer a solution to the seeming contradiction of holding to free will and election at the same time, it nevertheless points up the unacceptable outcome for the gospel of holding to an extreme deterministic position. Not a book you are likely to master in one sitting!
A disappointing book from John Lennox. Whilst the author should be admired for wanting to let the Bible speak for itself rather than simply following a theological system, unfortunately he succumbs to his own critique by assuming a libertarian definition of freedom, which automatically rides roughshod over those passages of Scripture that speak plainly of God's sovereignty in election. There was also a surprising lack of charity and grace in places as he tried to argue against the historically Reformed position on God's sovereignty and human freedom.
John Lennox has written a most timely and helpful book. I have very little philosophical training but I find Lennox clear and convincing in this area. What is most helpful though is his treatment of a wide range of Scriptural passages. For those who know David Gooding, they will see ‘Prof’s’ influence everywhere in the handling of Scripture. (Lennox does not seem to acknowledge that in this book – though he does frequently elsewhere.) This solid and balanced Biblical perspective makes this a must-read book, especially for pastors and teachers. I have highly recommended it to both my Methodist colleagues, some of whom are not sure if they might one day lose their salvation and to my Presbyterian friends, some of whom are not sure if they can say to a whole congregation, ‘Christ died for you’. This book will encourage the preaching of the Gospel.
This book is one of the most thoughtful, balanced, and needed volumes that I have seen a long time in the always turbulent Calvinist/Arminian debate. He takes us back before these later labels to the more correct label of theological determinism and helps us wrestle with the sometimes tricky concepts of the sovereignty of God and human freedom. In tone and in content this book is a tour de force that refuses to accept the theological constraints that have been foisted upon us and takes us back to the Bible itself. Both in the brief prologue and the introduction on what this book is about, we immediately notice something that is rare in this debate civility. Theres no way he can agree with everyone, but he is altogether kind to those with whom he cannot. Occasionally, I almost wondered if hes spilled too much ink in a cautious attempt to be respectful. Still, that may be what this subject demanded. He had me by just a few pages into chapter 1. His discussion of the nature and limitations of freedom brought the subject into clear focus as he explains the difference between the liberty of spontaneity and the liberty of indifference. He introduces terms like determinist, indeterminacy, compatibilists, and incompatiblists. He makes an indisputable case that there can be no morality without freedom, nor love without free will. He gives a great discussion of how there are both atheists and Christians who hold to determinism. Chapter 2 dives into various kinds of determinism including physical determinism and theistic determinism. The logic employed is flawless and unanswerable. Chapter 3 develops some of the earlier thoughts to discuss the moral problem with determinism. As you will see, there is a major moral problem with it. Chapter 4 with its interesting title of weapons of mass distraction talks about the plethora of labels that have overtaken this debate. He turns us to Scripture and shows us what the apostle Paul said about following men or labels and how perhaps this debate stumbles out of the gate in the approach to it that so many of us take. Chapter 5 begins part two that now feels comfortable to address Gods sovereignty and human responsibility head on. Again, he writes with clarity and does not allow himself to be bound by the clichs that have robbed the debate of its vitality. In chapter 6 he turns to the biblical vocabulary and instead of turning to a theological book goes straight to the Bible to discuss and define foreknowledge, predestination, and election. Part three begins with a chapter on human capacity and its limits and it is where we are now able to discuss some of the common arguments given, including some of the letters of TULIP. The next chapter looks at the human condition and digs into Gods righteousness and justification by faith. Chapter 9 tackles what the Bible says about being drawn by the Father and coming to Jesus Christ. Chapter 10 asks hard questions about the common explanations given for regeneration. Chapter 11 cycles to the gospel and human moral responsibility. The balance of the book looks directly at some of the key Scriptures that serve as the battleground of this issue: Romans 9 11 (5 chapters), several passages on assurance (1 chapter), several passages on endurance (1 chapter), and passages in Hebrews (2 chapters). The book ends with a very brief epilogue and questions for reflection. I dont see how youd want to dig into this subject without availing yourself of this incredible book. I give it the highest recommendation!
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