Another Gospel? by Alisa Childers (Brief Book Review)

Another Gospel?: A Lifelong Christian Seeks Truth in Response to Progressive Christianity by Alisa Childers

My rating: 2.5 stars.

Apologetics is a western bird as it addresses two sick branches on the western Church’s tree: atheism, and what’s currently called progressivism. Alisa Childers is also very much a western bird, both in the deconstruction and reconstruction of her Christian faith.

I was once asked to teach a course on Apologetics in a bible college in India. I agreed, but as I was preparing the course I realized what a mistake I’d made. It was like going to the desert to teach a course on snowman building.

I don’t see anyone steeped in Progressive Christianity changing their mind from this book, but maybe that is not the book’s intention. I imagine it will mostly appeal to millennial western Christians struggling with the same issues Childers did.

I thought her sections on the atonement were good. Her thoughts on hell were lazy. Most of all her other thoughts can be found readily on apologetics blogs.

I did read the entire book cover to cover without getting bored, so that earns it a star or two.

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Free Will and Evil

Free will is often described as the ability to choose one thing over another without coercion. The problem with that definition is that that type of choice would always have to be arbitrary. Why did you choose A instead of B? No reason. I chose A just because I could. I could have also chosen B. No matter. But, is that how we make choices? Of course not. There is always a reason you chose one thing over another, and that reason is the result of factors which are most often beyond your control. Why is a man attracted to one type of woman instead of another? Why do you enjoy certain kinds of food and hate others? Why are you drawn to this career and not that one? A man cannot simply will himself to be attracted to blonds instead of brunettes.

People who hold to the above definition of free will also tend to believe that the opposite of free will is no will. You either have free will or you are a preprogrammed robot. But, what is the opposite of freedom? It is slavery. Therefore, it is better to say that the opposite of free will is not “no will”, but rather “enslaved will”.

If we are created beings, then our Creator gave us certain desires. God did not create blank slates with arbitrary free wills. Rather, God created beings with a specific design and purpose. We were never created to be anything other than what we were created for. Therefore, free will, rather than being the ability to arbitrarily choose whatever, is best defined as the ability to freely be what God created us to be. Defined that way, the opposite free will is enslaved will–the inability to be what God created us to be. If we were created to be good, loving, and perfect, then our inability to be those things shows that our wills are enslaved to some fallen and corrupt condition. Welcome to planet Earth.

Any salvation plan then, would have to be one which frees us from our enslavement and once again place us in a condition where we can exist exactly as God intended. This is the claim of Christianity. Jesus, through His death and resurrection, destroys the old world of enslavement, and creates a new world of freedom. Humanity finds its freedom through union with Christ.

But, why and how did this fallen condition occur in the first place? If humans were originally created perfect and with a disposition toward God and the good, why did our first parents willfully sin? Were they deceived into doing so? By the devil? How and why did the devil fall?

The problem of evil is a perplexing one. How can an all powerful good God be reconciled with the existence of evil?

Related reading… Predisposed to Rule