Book Review: Chosen For Life: A Case for Divine Election
Book Review: Chosen For Life: A Case for Divine Election By Sam Storms
Reviewed by: David A. Thommen
Sam Storms has done the Christian community and incredible service with this publication of Chosen for Life: A Case for Divine Election. This is a revised and expanded version of an earlier publication he did in 1987. I will use Sam Storms own words here to give a brief summation of what he hopes this volume will accomplish. â€œI hope this book will go a long way in dispelling such unkind and terribly misleading caricatures of what people really believeâ€ (p. 21).
He has accomplished his task with great clarity, precision, fairness, and charity that should accompany theological discussions between fellow Christians. I say this because much of what passes for â€œtheological discussionâ€ is simply a batting back and forth of caricatures of theological convictions. Not so in Storms book. He, being a Calvinist and one who holds to the Reformed view of predestination, when dealing with opposing positions pictures them fairly, accurately, and avoids straw man arguments.
With that being said, the great strength of this book is a lucid explanation of the doctrine of election from the Reformed position. I would not necessarily say this a technical work aimed at the more academic crowd, but a brilliantly, biblically reasoned work for the average Christian who seeks to understand this potentially divisive doctrine that is so precious to the Christian faith.
He spends a chapter on the Arminian and the Calvinist view of the doctrine and also includes a chapter addressing the issue of â€œFree Will.â€ These three chapters provide for the reader a good synopsis of the nomenclature and views of each position. And really leaves the reader with a clear understanding of each of these topics. This serves as the groundwork for what follows.
Chosen for Life follows the thread of divine election through the gospels and Acts, the epistles and Revelation, and finally spending much time discussing the most controversial of the election passages found in Romans 9. It is in these chapters that I would say lies the greatest value for the reader. Because much of the misunderstanding of election can hinge on those who may think that this is simply a one or two text doctrine, Storms shows the thread that runs through the New Testament. Although it would have been a benefit to possibly include the Old Testament as well, it detracts from the force of the book very little.
Storms also spends a few chapters answering the most common questions that are raised with regard to election and does so with clarity and conciseness.
Overall, I would highly recommend this book to those who want a thorough yet concise work on the subject of divine election. Sam Storms defends and articulates the Reformed position well and is fair and charitable to opposing views.
The conclusion begins: â€œChosen for life! What a profound thought, with equally profound implication for Christian living. Could any mere human mind conceive a doctrine more humbling, more appropriate to inspire gratitude and service than this? I donâ€™t think soâ€™ (p. 191). Many people wrestle with this doctrine, more emotionally, than intellectually and biblically. Storms removes the emotional argument and goes at it biblically. For anyone wrestling with this it is a must read. For anyone who flatly denies election it is a must read. After all we are called to base our beliefs from the clear teaching of Scripture and Storms couldnâ€™t have put the doctrine of election in any clearer terms. Let our hearts and minds be turned back to the clear teaching of this humbling doctrine and give great and glorious praise to God who has chosen us for life.
Available at Monergism Books