Garry Friesen’s Story

Garry was raised in the Detroit suburbs in a Christian home. He personally became a believer during high school. Early spiritual catalysts included Youth for Christ and Redeemer Baptist Church. In 1965 he headed to John Brown University, a Christian liberal arts school in Arkansas. He served in practical ministry as county director of Youth for Christ and youth pastor at Maysville Bible Church. He was named student of the year and became student body president in 1967-68 before graduating Magna Cum Laude in Biblical Studies in 1969.

In the fall of 1969 he enrolled in the master of theology program at Dallas Seminary where his interest in ministry increased. His thesis was “C.S. Lewis’ View of Scripture” which continued a lifelong interest in this British writer and apologist. At Dallas he was class and student body president and at graduation in 1973 received the Lewis Sperry Chafer student award for character and scholarship. He then entered the Dallas doctoral program and in 1978 completed his Ph.D in systematic theology.

In 1976 Garry moved to Portland, Oregon to teach full-time at Multnomah Bible College while teaching part-time for Walk Through the Bible Ministries (78-81). At this time he rewrote his doctoral dissertation into book form with editing help from his close friend, Robin Maxson. In 1981 the book was published in the Critical Concerns series of Multnomah Press as Decision Making and the Will of God: A Biblical Alternative to the Traditional View. The book was revised and a second edition by the same name came out in August 2004.

It sold well after being a finalist for the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association Gold Medallion Award and winning Campus Life’s “Book of the Year” Award. Sales now total over 240,000. The book opened a new ministry of speaking across the nation including Staley Foundation lectureships. He has spoken at many churches and schools including Grace College, Grace Seminary, Northwest Baptist College (Canada), Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and John Brown University where he was named 1982 alumnus of the year. Later to supplement the ministry of Decision Making a Study Guide was published and a booklet called “Principles for Decision Making”.

Ministry at Multnomah has included professor of Bible (1976-) chairman of the Bible department (1980-1986) and Vice President: Academic Dean (1987-98). He led Multnomah’s month long Israel trip for students in 1980. With Daniel Scalberg he has led six tours to England. He mentors four men students living in his home named Aslan’s How. The house is decorated after the Narnia Chronicles with each room representing one of the seven books in the series.

His hobbies include basketball and most sports, a C.S. Lewis book collection. He recently finished 25 years of coach/playing the Ichthus coed softball team. He founded and leads the Eagle and Child Reading group of Portland that has met monthly since 1985 to discuss books from an evangelical perspective.