Randy Alcorn Joins a Fierce Christian debate


If God is sovereign and in control of the universe, do humans really have free will? If humans have free will to do as they please, can God really be in control? The debate over God's sovereignty and human's free will is one of the hottest among Christians perennially. And now Randy Alcorn, New York Times bestselling author of "Heaven" and "If God is Good," has decided her wants in on it. In Alcorn's new book,"Hand in Hand: The Beauty of God's Sovereignty and Meaningful Human Choice," admits that this issue has become divisive among Christians. During the first decade he was a Christian, Alcorn says he was "mostly Arminian" (those who emphasize man's free will). Now he is "mostly Calvinist" (those who emphasize God's sovereignty). He says he learned much on his journey that others need to know.

Here, we talk about why Alcorn believes the traditional approach to the debate isn't working, what he's saying that's new, and whether he agrees with John Piper that God is responsible for fatalilty-inducing natural disasters.

RNS: Christians have been debating God's sovereignty and humans' free will for centuries, but you've decided to engage it now. What is your book adding to the debate that is new?

RA: I'm compelled to recognize that there are two parallel lines that cross in God’s infinite mind, even if they don’t make sense to our finite minds. God calls upon us to believe paradoxical (meaning apparently contradictory, not truly contradictory) ideas. That way we can place our faith in God rather than lose our faith or give up the discussion because we can’t figure out how to reconcile them. I disagree with various ideas, but respectfully, I'm suggesting they are based not on complete untruth but partial truths--which lead to partial falsehoods.

RNS: You say the traditional approach to the debate isn't working. How so?