Book: Alcorn, Randy. hand in Hand: The Beauty of God’s Sovereignty and Meaningful Human Choice.
Point: We don’t have it all figured out how God’s will interacts with ours, but we can trust that He does.
Path: Alcorn encourages readers to set aside incendiary titles for long enough to realize that God’s Word is clear that he is in control, that we don’t know how that looks in every situation, and we can be charitable enough to listen to, read, and engage with believers who think differently than us.
The book follows the path of a recognition of the battlefield, a clarification of terms, the Scriptural view of God’s sovereignty and then Free Will (or Meaningful Choice), a comparison of the different beliefs regarding these, a critique of Open Theism, a look at how God’s sovereignty and our choice interact, key historical figures, and then an application for moving forward.
Sources: Alcorn quotes theologians, philosophers, pastors, and authors from all periods of church history, but continues to go back to Scriptural sources.
Agreement: I appreciated Alcorn’s charitable tone. He wants to help people hear each other and glorify God together. I thank God for that. This is an entrance book, one which I think opens the door for more study in individual texts, key doctrines, and philosophical ideas. But I think as a starter, this sets us up for a good conversation.
Personal App: Do I think I have it all figured out? Then I need to go back and read the Bible. God has it figured out. I don’t.
Favorite Quote: “All positions have strengths and weaknesses; be sure you know the strengths of others and the weaknesses of your own.”
It would be worth another read and I would recommend it to someone who:
Is regularly using the terms “Calvinism” or “Arminianism”
Is concerned about what their church believes about “Free Will and God’s Sovereignty”
Wants to be strengthened in their faith
Other books along this theme would be:
Montgomery, Daniel, and Timothy Paul Jones. PROOF: Finding Freedom through the Intoxicating Joy of Irresistible Grace. Zondervan, 2014.