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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars By far the most helpful book I have read on the subject
First a plea for readers to try and honestly suspend all thoughts of "labels" and read the first three chapters very thoroughly. God's sovereignty is clearly set forward, ** importantly within the context of all of God's attributes **(rather than as a "stand-alone" or over-riding attribute which is the way the subject is often approached and leads to problems). Man's...
Published on 25 Aug 2008 by A. Hill

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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Flawed Doctrine of Sin
This book is highly recommended for those who want good arguments against extreme Calvinism and Neotheism, but the book is sorely lacking in important distinctions in the realm of hamartiology (the doctrine of sin) which are essential to the debate between moderate Calvinists and Arminians over the questions of eternal security and the basis for anybody going to hell...
Published on 20 July 1999


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars By far the most helpful book I have read on the subject, 25 Aug 2008
By 
A. Hill (Suffolk, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Chosen but Free (Paperback)
First a plea for readers to try and honestly suspend all thoughts of "labels" and read the first three chapters very thoroughly. God's sovereignty is clearly set forward, ** importantly within the context of all of God's attributes **(rather than as a "stand-alone" or over-riding attribute which is the way the subject is often approached and leads to problems). Man's responsibilities and abilities or lack thereof are clearly and carefully presented. Both are treated thoroughly scripturally and strike a chord with the actual experience of life, sin, salvation and the revelation of God in scripture.

Once these chapters are fully taken on board, then the famous TULIP can be approached. The TULIP strikes me, in the way it is normally presented by proponents, as being in itself a natural logical springboard for the type of extremism that the author then seeks to address. That is why he carefully adds the qualifiers to the system which direct back towards a properly scriptural view. The table on p120 (2nd edition) is important, but the ground leading to it should be covered carefully before jumping in.

The author is calvinistic rather than arminian because the sovereignty of God and His foreknowledge clearly retain supremacy over the will of man in all his arguments. However the will and abilities/responsibilities of man (even as a fallen creature) are not diminished to vanishing point as they are by so many taking the TULIP as their starting point.

I grew up amongst Christians who had clear teaching on election and God's sovereignty without reference to Calvinism as a system. I therefore thought I must a be Calvinist by default. However, I felt deeply uncomfortable over much of the material I have read that presents Calvinism by committed Calvinists. Things quite fundamental to God (especially God's love), man, sin and salvation seemed somehow distorted although I could always see and appreciate the desire to uphold the sovereignty of God.

This book puts into words very many of the thoughts I have had but could not properly express. No words of man can fully explain the Word of God, but this book has rescued me from a cloud of questions and uncertainties that were looming in as I struggled hard and failed to reconcile "TULIP as normally presented by committed Calvinists" with scripture, whilst at the same time feeling certain I am not Arminian in the sense of man's will being in any way in the driving seat.

The final plea is this. PLEASE approach Calvinism through the eyes of scripture, rather than, however unintentionally, approaching scripture through the eyes of Calvinism. There are most certainly widely held "versions" of Calvinism that are extreme in the sense of being outside a balanced understanding of scripture, and therefore to be avoided.

For me, reading this book marks a very significant spiritual milestone, and I wish to express my deep gratitude to the author in this forum.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book., 12 Aug 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Chosen but Free (Hardcover)
This is a really good book. Whether you agree with Geisler or not, its a must read. Its also, a very timely book. Timely for me and some others anyways.
I like this book because, it has engaged me to think in both philosophical dimensions as well as the expected theological. Many theologians seem to be unaware of the various philosophical issues that underlie their theological work. (Likewise many X-tian philosophers do not seem to have an adequate theological background to temper their philosophical work.) In Geisler, I find good handling of both philos. & theol. issues. His comments have helped me further my thoughts on Aristotle & Incontinence.
Also, this book is good reading for those who come from a Reformed view of Predestination (Sproul, Gerstner, Kennedy, etc...) but were never quite able to settle with it. There was always something tailing you. Something just did not seem right. The arguements seemed just a wee bit strained, but it was all you had to go on.
Anyways, Go read it !!!
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Flawed Doctrine of Sin, 20 July 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Chosen but Free (Hardcover)
This book is highly recommended for those who want good arguments against extreme Calvinism and Neotheism, but the book is sorely lacking in important distinctions in the realm of hamartiology (the doctrine of sin) which are essential to the debate between moderate Calvinists and Arminians over the questions of eternal security and the basis for anybody going to hell. Geisler is correct that Arminians & Calvinists of all varieties agree that those who actually enter heaven are eternally secure, but he does not provide a morally clear and justifiable basis for why people go to hell. This is because Geisler's doctrine of sin is flawed. To use the title of Arminian Richard Taylor's book, Geisler does not have "a right conception of sin." He erroneously thinks that sins committed by both non-Christians and Christians damn the former but not the latter because "no saint will ever be lost (even if he dies in sin)." The wages of sin is death, but apparently this is not true for the Christian who decides (using Geisler's definition of free will) to engage in sin. The wages of chosen sin on the part of a Christian is NOT death but merely a loss of rewards. A lame incentive not to sin! Part of the problem is Geisler's belief that non-Christians are damned for BOTH inherited sin AND self-chosen sin rather than just the latter. He states: "People are ultimately condemned for two reasons: First, they are born with a sinful nature that puts them on the road to hell; second, because they choose not to heed the warning signs along the road telling them to repent (pgs 61 - 62). Geisler also affirms that all are legally guilty of Adam's sin (pg 64). As an Arminian, I reject both premises. Nobody is legally guilty and goes to hell because of a sinful nature they didn't choose to have and the Bible doesn't teach it either. They go to hell because of freely chosen sin and that alone! Infants who die without the opportunity to choose sin go to heaven because they are already on the road to heaven, not the road to hell! Likewise, anybody who repents of CHOSEN SIN on the basis of the gospel (thereby becoming a Christian) and then later CHOOSES TO SIN AGAIN warrants hell because they have lost their innocent status and the nature of a true Christian. If they don't repent, they WILL go to hell! Geisler also promotes confusion in his statement that people "sin inevitably (though not necessarily) because they are born with a sinful nature, and they find themselves in a sinful condition where they are bound by sin because they have chosen to be in this condition" (pg 62). Elsewhere he persuasively argues for the distinction between desire and will, but then here implies that EVERYBODY will inevitably sin because of both a sin nature and by choice. This is pure confusion. I agree with Geisler that God knows who will choose sin and, in that sense, I accept the distinction between the inevitable and the necessary, but Geisler's statement implies that ALL will inevitably choose sin which is one of the arguments used by extreme Calvinist R.C. Sproul (in Chosen by God) to argue his type of total depravity. One last point: Geisler also seems to ignore the possibility of unconscious sin (sins of ignorance) although he does address willful ignorance which is not the same thing! There are several other problems with Geisler's book, but his doctrinal errors on sin are particularly dangerous. - Brad Clark
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Unfortunately an Unbalanced View, 30 July 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Chosen but Free (Hardcover)
Dr. Geisler is, unsuprisingly, a very well known apologists, however, and 'apology' is what may be needed for this "unbalanced" view of the doctrine of election. Geisler should just come out and say he's Arminian instead of hiding behind the mask of "Moderate Calvininism." He equivocates and misrepresents many of the most crucial issues regarding "extreme calvinism" (which is how he characterizes the view in this book). Geisler attempts to use certain Scripture to support his views, unfortuantely he seems to be grasping at almost any verse to try and get this "support." I have read many of his books and find them very rewarding so it is with sad respect that I have to admit that this was not quite up to par with his other works. However, this book should stir up more contraversy over a much debated issue. I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in the doctrine of election, but with a warning that this is not a very well balanced assessment of election.
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3 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Chosen to be in bondage, 8 Jan 2004
This review is from: Chosen but Free (Paperback)
Disappointing. Norman Geisler's "moderate Calvinism" is nothing more than traditional Arminianism dressed up in predestination language. Most disappointing of all, there is little or no exegesis of the toughie passages.
James R White's book "The Potter's Freedom", written in direct response to Gesisler and which I read afterwards, totally demolishes Geisler's arguments.
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