Book Review: God’s Will & Man’s Will by Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum

God’s Will & Man’s Will by Arnold Fruchtenbaum is the best work I have read that explains the sovereignty of God and free will of man controversy.  Too much fire has been created over this discussion and countless brothers and sisters have been divided instead of brought together.  Fruchtenbaum presents an objective analysis of the Moderate Calvinist view and relates how other views from the Hyper-Calvinist and Strict Calvinist to the Arminian and Calminian views differ.

Most people become entangled in the inability to deal with the truth that Scripture teaches the sovereignty of God as well as the free will of man.  Both are true, but siding with one or the other leads to an error of understanding and teaching. Even biblical scholars are not easily able to keep both in correct tension and emphasize one view or the other.  Thus, they do not arrive at a biblical view of sovereignty versus free will.

Fruchtenbaum uses the word antinomy, which means that two things are true, but appear to contradict each other.  The easy and common example is the Trinity.  God is one and yet God is three.  Both are true and yet they appear to contradict each other to our human mind.  Most biblical scholars accept the Scriptural view of the Trinity. Most biblical scholars accept the Trinity antinomy.  But they struggle with the antinomy of sovereignty versus free will. Fruchtenbaum explains how both are true and he explains why Moderate Calvinism is the Scriptural truth.

Fruchtenbaum presents the “TULIP”1 version for each of the main positions, including Arminianism, Calminianism, Moderate Calvinism, Strict Calvinism and Hyper-Calvinism. While these positions may be difficult to understand, every growing student should learn them and at least be aware of them, because of the controversy this issue has and is causing in many churches today.  His section on “Key Words” is helpful prior to the main presentation, because part of the debate stems from misunderstandings of definitions.

Chapter four is a lengthy presentation on Moderate Calvinism and details incredible light on the matter. He discusses each of the TULIP elements and objectively supports both the truth with Scripture as well as presenting the other views with errors in those positions.  The arguments against Moderate Calvinism are often an imposition of other Theology super-imposed upon Scripture.  Especially helpful are his sections on “Objections to Unlimited Atonement” and “Objections to Limited Atonement.”

Fruchtenbaum masterfully explains the antinomy of sovereignty of God versus the free will of man.  This is not an easy doctrine to understand, but Fruchtenbaum has made the topic much more easy to grasp to have assurance of God’s truth. Read this today or as soon as you can.

1The acrostic TULIP stands for Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace and Perseverance of the Saints.


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