Author: Philip Yancy
Philip Yancey is one of my favorite authors. He responded to Decision Making as part of his booklet, "Guidance." He described the book as one of the "iconoclastic school of thought" and rejected it along with more traditional approaches.
The positive model that he proposes is hard to understand. He says that we tend to see guidance "in terms of technique, rather than as part of a relationship." (10). So far so good. No evangelical view excludes the need of a faith, but it can get lost in theolgical shuffle. What does he propose? He only hints at an answer. "Does God guide? Yes, I believe that he does. Most times, I believe, he guides in subtle ways, by feeding ideas into our minds, speaking through a nagging sensation of dissatisfaction, inspiring us to choose better than we otherwise would have done ...." (16). The technique is gone, but so is the clarity of how God will guide.
Yancy is sure that God's guidance is clearer when you look backward than when you look forward. He gives some interesting illustrations from his own experience. In the end Yancy is left with a disorganized and vague form of the traditional view. He seems to assume God will be guiding us to this mysterious "perfect will", but we won't be sure ahead of time. We appreciate his honesty about how difficult it is to be certain when it comes to guidance, but that is not an answer.
His great illustrations of looking back at experience can best be explained as God's sovereign guidance. Yancy mentions God's "nudges" and "naggings". These are best viewed as possible reflectors of wisdom. He mentions his own insomnia and such experiences must be considered. Insomnia is significant. It is a part of the raw material which wisdom judges, but should not be viewed as a secret code language from the Spirit giving a particular message.
Yancy's booklet is interesting, but raises better questions than it provides answers.
Yancy is not confident that we can be certain of knowing God's individual will before a decision. His honesty is refreshing. Unfortunately, the reader is left still with the traditional view, but now without its promise of certainty.