Saturday, April 7, 2012
Review of PROVIDENCE AND PRAYER: HOW DOES GOD WORK IN THE WORLD? by Terrance Tiessen
Photo Credit: Intervarsity Press
How exactly does prayer work? Christians know they’re supposed to pray, but what exactly does prayer do? Does is it affect how God governs the world? Or does it merely change how we perceive God’s governing of the world? I’ve wrestle with this question for most of the time that I’ve been a follower of Jesus. Truthfully, it all depends on what kind of a world God has set up and how he has decided to govern that world. That’s the premise behind Terrance Tiessen’s book PROVIDENCE AND PRAYER: HOW DOES GOD WORK IN THE WORLD?
Clearly, Jesus tells us to pray in the Bible, and prayer is show to actually help achieve certain events, but the question is how much influence, if any, our prayers contain. If we don’t pray, will God refuse to do something that he would have if we had prayed? Tiessen takes us on a journey through ten theological models of providence and explores how prayer works within those ten models. He runs from the spectrum of God exercising little control to God exercising meticulous and fatalistic control. Each chapter is incredibly helpful to expose people’s beliefs about God’s providence and how their approach to prayer may often not reflect their theological model. I stand somewhere between a Redemptive Intervention Model and a Molinist Model. Tiessen closes the book with an additional model that combines the middle knowledge concept of the Molinist Model and a Calvinist Model, a position he’s modified a bit since the publication of this book.
One of the most helpful and creative aspects of this book is the hypothetical prayer meeting that Tiessen includes. A group of people are gathered to pray for a kidnapped missionary. Each chapter includes a hypothetical person who adheres to the chapter’s theological model and how they would pray.
PROVIDENCE AND PRAYER is a rare book that is really helpful, even if it doesn’t answer all my questions. Nevertheless, I’m glad Terrance Tiessen decided to take on this subject. It’s another great addition to anyone’s theological library.
I received this book for free for review from Intervarsity Press