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God’s Strategy in Human History, Volume 2, Reconsidering Key Biblical Ideas - Book Review

Thu October 10th, 2013

This latest (3rd) edition of Forster & Marston's seminal work, takes a deeper view of those ideas from earlier editions and in the main it is volume 2 that is given over to this purpose. For those of an Arminian persuasion and especially those who consider themselves to live in a relational theology, this book will seem a literal 'godsend'. To those who have never really considered these ideas or have adopted a determinist or process view of God, this book will be harder to swallow. Roger Forster has for many years been our clearest and most vocal spokesperson for a non-determinist view of God. To say that this book like its sister, Volume 1, has a broad remit would probably be disingenuous; this is Forster's well thought out critique of other positions and cements him and those who follow him, firmly in the face of popular determinism. Volume 2 is an in depth consideration of those ideas popularised by volume 1 and in 7 fairly lengthy chapters considers the evidence of the early church fathers and the original biblical languages. There is also a considerable and helpful bibliography, which will unquestionably lead to further reading. F & M discuss the Sovereignty of God (something that all evangelical Christians believe in but have vastly differing interpretations of), Justification & Righteousness, Works & Faithfulness, Chosen and Elect, Foreknowledge and Predestination, Hardening & Unbelief and Erroneous Traditions. Some of these subject headings sound 'yawnful' but are actually vital to our right reading of Scripture and having an understanding of our relational God. I was particularly engrossed by the discussion of Righteousness and also of Faithfulness – subjects that are both key to understanding the book of Romans, but tend to be dealt with greater reference to religious tradition than to a true exegesis of Scripture. F & M take in the broad wealth of academic writing and process it for the reader, delivering conclusions that are more than helpful, probably essential. The last chapter is mainly focussed around a detailed critique of the writings of Augustine – a man who had little or no knowledge of Biblical languages but was a Latin scholar – and exposes the glaring errors of his teaching, which of course underpin modern Reformed teaching as we understand it. I have no doubt that some people will be put off by the more academic style of this volume and others will throw their arms up in the air in an exclamation of horror of the rigours arguments contained therein. However, Forster in particular must be looking towards securing his theological legacy, and the two volumes together do a good job of that. If you don't lean theologically towards Roger Forster, then I recommend this book to expand your thinking and empower you with the arguments that you need to learn to refute. If like me you admire Forster's Wesleyan emphasis on 'free-will' then this book with its companion volume will be a welcome reference tool for you. If you are a preacher or teacher, this work will enrich and empower your speaking for years to come. I thoroughly endorse this book and commend it to you for your consideration. This book can be obtained from Ichthus by clicking here. or from Amazon. You can buy both volumes from Amazon with this link. You can read our review of Volume 1 here.