Tim Challies
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June 3, 2024

Over the course of a lifetime, not to mention over the course of any given month or week, we have to make many decisions. Some of them are consequential and some insignificant, some change the course of our lives and some barely even register. Yet as Christians we know we are responsible before God to make good decisions in matters both good and small. The question is, what constitutes a good decision? And on what basis do we make them?

T. David Gordon’s brief and reader-friendly new book is a fascinating look at the different models of decision-making but about the basis on which we make them. This makes it a uniquely helpful book.

Gordon begins with a very brief discussion of ethics and says “ethics is about living as God our Maker intended us to live. The ethical task is to think, in a disciplined and faithful way, about human choices in light of human nature, the human condition, human potential, and the divine creational mandate for humans.” In this sense every decision we make is ethical—“it either contributes to or detracts from human life as God created it.” The ethical task is to distinguish good from bad and good from better—to be disciplined and deliberate in making choices.

Over time, Christians have arrived at five different models for making ethical decisions. Each of them asks different questions and these different questions bring different insights to the ethical question. Yet each has the same goal of pleasing and honoring God. The book is framed around these models, with each receiving a chapter-length treatment. They are: The Imitation Model, The Law Model, The Wisdom Model, The Communion Model, and The Warfare Model.

What is so good and helpful about laying out these models is to show the harmony between them. Life is complex enough that at various times we need all of them and many decisions must be made on the basis of several models rather than just one. Sometimes we have a clear command to obey, but sometimes we do not and have to apply wisdom or consider what might disrupt our communion with God. If I am faced with the decision of whether or not to commit adultery, the law model is all I need; if I am faced with the decision to embrace a new technology, the wisdom model or communion model offers better guidance; if my church wants to consider keeping or cutting our weekly prayer meeting, we could probably base the decision to maintain it on all of them, with the warfare model playing an especially important role.

Choose Better was truly eye-opening for me and has given me a lot to think about as I make decisions. It is easy to read, well-illustrated, humorous at times, and just the right length. I am grateful for it and gladly commend it to you.

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Tim Challies

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