Review of “What about Free Will?: Reconciling Our Choices with God’s Sovereignty.”

I recently watched the movie Everest and immediately told my wife that I never wanted to go and try to climb Mount Everest. The task was too daunting, the mountain too large. When I think of the topic of free will and God’s sovereignty I get that same feeling in my gut that says this is too difficult. This did not stop Pastor Scott Christensen from taking on the Everest of theological topics (and if not Everest then Kilimanjaro at the very least).
In What About Free Will? Scott seeks to answer the question, “Is it possible to reconcile God’s sovereignty and human freedom?” in the affirmative (pg. 2). He begins by laying out the Libertarian viewpoint in chapters 1-2. In chapter 3-6 he attempts to defend the Compatibilist view from scripture. The final 6 chapters seek to “flesh out the compatibilist view of the human will, freedom, and responsibility” (pg. 27).
At the end of each chapter Scott provides a helpful glossary of terms used in that particular chapter as well as a helpful bibliography for further study on the topics discussed in each chapter. As well, Scott clearly lays out the practical application of this difficult topic such as understanding how we should engage in evangelism and discipleship, navigating crucial questions about the existence of evil and whether God or man or even Satan is responsible for it (pg. 4). Because of these things, I do agree with Dr. Carson (the author of the forward) that, “considering the complexity of the subject, this book is wonderfully accessible” (pg. x). With intentional time spent, I believe that almost any adult could pick this up and follow Scott’s argument with clarity.
However, from a research standpoint, I would have liked to see more time spent understanding the libertarian view. I applaud Scott’s desire to clearly lay out the libertarian view, but there are ten chapters on the compatibilist view and two chapters, making up 43 pages, spent attempting to understand this view with only 3 of those pages directly devoted to their understanding of scripture (pg. 24-26). In defining his terms he referred to libertarianism as “the view” (pg. 10) and compatibilism as “the biblical view” (pg. 9). While I don’t disagree that compatibilism is biblical, it made me feel as though I had to believe his view or I am not being biblical. It would have also been helpful to hear from more of those who do not hold to Scott’s view of compatibilism and even hear why they disagree with compatibilism such as Dr. Thomas McCall (Assistant Professor of Systematic Theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) who, in an article in the Trinity Journal (2008) entitled “I Believe in Divine Sovereignty,” argues that we should be “deeply suspicious of any model of divine sovereignty that embraces determinism” (226).
Overall, this book is a helpful resource that will aid in anyone’s study of this topic. This book is a good stepping-stone to the more difficult books on the topic like Dr. Carson’s “Divine Sovereignty and Human Responsibility: Biblical Perspective in Tension.” Good job Scott!
RATING: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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