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Easy Chairs, Hard Words: Conversations on the Liberty of God [Paperback]

Douglas Wilson
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Jan. 1 1991
"Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens. You will say to me then, "Why still find fault? For who resisted his will? - But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God?" Romans 9:18-20

Hard words indeed. But they remain, for all our explanations, God's words. In this book, the reader will find unapologetic treatment of many such passages in Scripture. Perhaps the discovery will be made that our difficulty is not with the text, but rather with our hearts. Through lively conversations, this book seeks to understand the liberty of God.

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About the Author

Douglas Wilson is pastor of Christ Church, Moscow, Idaho and editor of Credenda/Agenda magazine. He is the author of "Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning," "Reforming Marriage," and "Her Hand In Marriage."

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Martin Spenser sat easily in a large chair next to the fireplace. Read the first page
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5.0 out of 5 stars Easy Access to Hard Truth Nov. 12 2008
By D Glover TOP 500 REVIEWER
This book takes the form of a conversation between a younger Christian seeking answers and an older pastor who is willing to discuss the tough and often contentious issues surrounding the biblical doctrines typically labelled as Calvinism or Reformed theology. While the mechanics of the conversation are at times a bit contrived (as another reviewer has mentioned), this is not a major drawback of the book. There are many more thorough introductions to the distinctives of Reformed theology but this is one of the best I've come across for recommending to those with little or no familiarity with the subject and who either have little time to read or are daunted by the prospect of tackling a thick and weighty didactic treatment. Not only does it serve as a good introduction to Reformed theological distinctives, it is also useful as a guide to the spirit in which conversations on this subject ought to be conducted.

The conversation is a mixture of plausible (and in my experience, actual) questions, biblical interpretation, sound reasoning and unapologetic affirmations and it is loaded with sections of biblical texts for further study. I highly recommend this book to those who are honestly seeking answers to thorny questions on such doctrines as the sovereignty of God, election and predestination, the effects and results of sin, etc. Doug Wilson provides a great service in this basic and accessible introduction to the major distinctives of this stream of thought within the Christian church. Wilson is right, these doctrines (words) are not easy but they are true and that is why this book and others like it are so valuable.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Impressive Oct. 6 2006
By Mark Nenadov TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a truly impressive work. It is a penetrating, but yet sufficient simple and "reader friendly" introduction, defense, and reflection upon the doctrines known to many as "Reformed Theology".

Wilson does a fine job of integrating theological ideas into the conversational story he weaves. He relies upon clear and simple analogies and writes in a convincing and effective way.

Highly recommended for those who are seeking to understand (or defend) reformed theology!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Challenging. July 16 2004
If I had to give only one book away, it would be this one. It is so filled with knowledge, it is almost a sin to keep it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Love the Analogies April 12 2004
This is a solid book. Doug Wilson explains many of the common questions about Calvinism and Reformed thinking (beginning, of course, by stating his reticence to use these terms) in an engaging, informative manner. I have read assorted other books on Calvinism, and Doug Wilson here answers some questions in ways I've never seen them answered before, and gives great analogies to help understand what he's talking about. The whole book is written in a dialogue format, which makes for an occasionally stilted read (there are only so many ways a character can say "I see" or "I don't understand" before it gets kind of old). But overall, I think the format works great, illustrating how down-to-earth these principles are, and following the natural logic when thinking through these things. It's a stellar book.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.9 out of 5 stars  13 reviews
31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Death of Arminianism in Plain English July 19 2000
By Jerry Dodson - Published on Amazon.com
Arminianism is like a head cold: you can catch it without knowing it, but you can't get rid of it without a fight. The average Christian finds much comfort in the tenents of Arminianism (God is manageable, sin is not the incapacitating force the Bible says it is, I can "help" God with my salvation and sanctification, etc) but little biblical support. Because Arminianism as a system tends to promote fuzzy thinking and an impervious resistance to logic or systematic theology, it is a most difficult foe to vanquish. Fortunately, Doug Wilson has delivered a death blow in shirtsleeve English. Recording the conversation of a Calvinist pastor and a recovering Arminian, Wilson gently demolishes all the errors of the Arminian system in an engaging style. All Calvinists should read this book in order to learn to present the truths of the Bible in a clear and attractive manner. All Arminians should read this book in order to learn the truth.
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cogent, Logical, Lucid Defense of Reformed Belief June 26 2000
By Phillip J. Rodgers - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Douglas Wilson may be the most articulate of all the current defenders of Reformed theology writing today. Not since I read John Gerstner's all but unanswerable "Predestination Primer" (available in "Primitive Theology: The Collected Primers of John H. Gerstner") have I run across a comparable defense of the Augustinian (or Calvinist, though I truly believe that it is simply the Biblical) sytem of belief. Indeed, superb as Gerstner was, Wilson's imagined dialogue may be the more effective presentation. I cannot recommend this too highly. Ironically enough it is the ideal antidote to such slipshod exercises in sophistry as Gregory Boyd's "God of the Possible". Wilson will probably never have the rapturous following that some Christian thinkers have because A) He makes it look easy (It takes a superior intelligence to take topics this weighty and make them so clear) and B) People will reject what he is saying, not because it is false, or illogical, or unBiblical; they will reject it because they don't like what he says. The Rev. Wilson finds himself in enviable company there. All Christians should read this excellent book.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Opens Hearts and Minds. June 2 2000
By Joseph R. Graber - Published on Amazon.com
A young man has questions about "eternal security" or "once saved - always saved", and he goes to visit an older Reformed minister to get some answers. They decide to meet on a regular basis and the young man would bring questions to discuss. Over the course of the discussions they end up covering the essentials of the Reformed faith.
Because of the non-threatening but interesting way that Doug Wilson draws the reader into the dialogue, I use these as an "evangelistic tool". I've given out more of these books than I can count...with tremendous results!
This is a great way to approach an Arminian friend with the Reformed faith.
Moves fast. Easy to read. Interesting. Good story.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Readable, engaging contrast of Reformed vs. Armenianism Aug. 21 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
This is the best resource I have ever found contrasting the distinctive differences between the Reformed and Armenian positions on security of the believer. It is engaging because it is done in a conversational manner, using ongoing discussions between a young man confused by his Armenian upbrining and a Reformed pastor. The literary style assists greatly in identifying not only the theological differences, but also the natural consequences of holding these theological positions. It's cheap, it's readable, and it's profound. One of the best 5 books I have ever read! All of Doug Wilson's writings are in this category. Read more by surfing the Credenda/ Agenda magazine website.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally! Answers For My Questions April 4 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
I have been a Christian most of my life, but recently my eyes were opened to see that I had been worshipping a God according to my liking. When faced with the tough issues of the exhaustive sovereignty of God, I had lots of questions. This book, written in conversation form, chronicles the quest of a young man with those same questions. How refreshing and encouraging to see I was not alone, and to get the Bible-based answers to questions like, Is God the author of sin? Does God harden mens' hearts and still hold them accountable for their actions? If God is not willing that any should perish, why does He not choose us all? I highly recommend this easy-to-read book and plan to pass it along to friends.
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