Top 10 Books on Divine Sovereignty and Human Responsibility
This subject can be one of the most difficult, confusing, and disconcerting theological discussions. The books below (at various reading levels) bring clarity and cognitive rest to the matter.
1. Freedom of the Will by Jonathan Edwards [e, p, s]
This is the most difficult read on the list but it is by far the best. In my view, Edwards has accurately described blow-by-blow how divine sovereignty and human responsibility work by accurately describing all aspects. This book has never been answered. Every book on human freedom conveniently ignores this work. If you get stuck, message me in the comments and I’ll email you a book review which includes a summary of his argumentation.
2. The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination by Lorraine Boettner [e, p, s]
3. Institutes of Christian Religion by John Calvin [e, p, s]
It bothers me how many “Calvinists” haven’t read the Institutes of Christian Religion.
4. Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God by J.I. Packer [y, l, e, p, s]
This book is the most accessible and has been helpful to many. I disagree with its central thesis that the relationship between divine sovereignty and human responsibility is antinomy. But most find this book to be the most helpful on the subject. Also, Will Metzger’s, Tell the Truth and Mark Dever’s, The Gospel and Personal Evangelism are both excellent and in the same vein.
5. Bondage of the Will by Martin Luther [e, p, s]
Excellent book on how our will is bound.
6. The Death of Death in the Death of Christ by John Owen [e, p, s]
Excellent defense of the doctrine of limited atonement. J.I. Packer’s introductory essay to this book is probably the best thing Packer has ever written. That essay is helpful and worth the price of the book. I refuse to talk to anyone about “Calvinism” until they have read that essay. It can be read online here.
7. Chosen by God by R.C. Sproul [y, l, e, p, s]
Sproul outlines the doctrine of election cogently. Also, Willing to Believe is solid.
8a. Let the Nations Be Glad by John Piper [y, l, e, p, s]
Although not explicitly on the subject, Piper does a great job disarming the lie that the sovereignty of God in salvation destroys the impetus to evangelize. Further and rightly, he makes the case that the sovereignty of God is the soil where fruitful evangelism grows. If you want more on this, I have a paper defending this position theologically and from the history of missions (most of the big names in missions affirmed the doctrines of grace).
8b. Finally Alive by John Piper [y, l, e, p, s]
This is a much needed book on the doctrine of regeneration. Piper explains clearly how regeneration precedes repentance and faith. Critical. In my view, this was one of the finest books of 2009.
9. The Sovereignty of God by A.W. Pink [y, l, e, p, s]
Classic book on the sovereignty of God.
10. The Potter’s Freedom: A Defense of the Reformation and the Rebuttal of Norman Geisler’s Choosen But Free by James White [l, e, p, s]
(c=children; y=young adult; l=lay leader; e=elder; p=pastor; s=scholar)