I mentioned on the 19th that I enjoyed books that offer multiple views. Here I want to tell you about another we received from Zondervan’s very popular Counterpoints Series, Four Views on Divine Providence edited by Dennis Jowers. Your contributors for this book are:
Paul Helseth (God causes every creaturely event that occurs)
William Lane Craig (through his “middle knowledge,” God controls the course of worldly affairs without predetermining any creatures’ free decisions)
Ron Highfield (God controls creatures by liberating their decision-making)
Gregory Boyd (human decisions can be free only if God neither determines nor knows what they will be).
Introductory and closing essays by Dennis Jowers give relevant background and guide readers toward their own informed beliefs about divine providence.
As I flipped through this I found some fairly strong language exchanged. For example, in Helseth’s reply to Craig I found this:
“Second, the hollowness of Dr. Craig’s essay is disturbing because it encourages a kind of insolence that is not only entirely without justification but also, to put it charitably, entirely lacking in appropriate reverential caution. Dr. Craig brazenly opines that the Augustinian-Calvinist account of providence ‘seems … to turn God into the Devil,’ because it ‘obliterate[s] human freedom’ and ‘makes God the author of sin.’ While this statement and the assertion that support it will likely elicit squeals fo delight from some quarters of an increasingly factious evangelical camp, it is theologically irresponsible–in fact, it is deserving of a stern rebuke–due in large measure to the magnitude of the questions that Dr. Craig ignores throughout his essay.” (104)
In Craig’s response to Helseth’s essay we find:
“The attempt to impugn Molinism/Arminianism through guilt by association with Manichaeism is just silly and unworthy of a serious scholar.” (58)
I mention these two quotes only to give you some of the flavor of the intensity I found just from a quick glance. Some have complained that these multiple views books are sometimes rather bland in their exchanges or that a certain position was poorly defended. I don’t think we’ll find that true in this volume. I love a good debate and by all appearances this will be a lively one!