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If John Ortberg’s books from the first quarter of the 21st century are still being read—as I suspect they will be—in the century’s second quarter, this achievement will no doubt turn on his remarkable capacity for interweaving careful and disciplined reflection on the biblical text with an uncanny accessibility to the popular reader. What may well distinguish Ortberg from similarly high-achieving peers is his hilariously self-deprecating humor.

51ipoeuikvl-_sx331_bo1204203200_Put simply, Ortberg is a very fine thinker and a remarkably intelligent writer.

Borrowing his title not from an obscure theologian but rather from Dr. Seuss, Ortberg in this work explores what one can make of an enduring mystery: the relationship of determinism to human freedom. Christians will make up the majority of his readers. Whether or not they realize it, Christian readers most frequently frame this same philosophical conundrum in terms of God’s sovereignty and free will.

Without falling needlessly into the facile and reductive traps, Ortberg navigates these waters with a particular eye not so much to the philosophical dilemma itself, but rather to what the Christian believer is to make of his or her life’s decisions in the context of this mystery. In this sense—though not in the cheaper sense with which the word is so often deployed these days—Ortberg has given us a profoundly practical book. (more…)

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