“Quiet Talks on Prayer” by S.D. Gordon

Quiet Talks on PrayerQuiet Talks on Prayer by S.D. Gordon

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Gordon presents a lot to consider regarding prayer. Written in 1904 and recently republished, this book is quite old and has been a heavy influence on current academics such as Dave Earley at Liberty University.

The book is written in a fashion that feels like a small dialogue with the reader, which seems to be the prompt for the title, “quiet talks.” Gordon’s asssertions are heavily-influenced by Arminian views, approaching G-d’s sovereignty as something G-d set aside for the sake of man’s free will. This approach is not without issues, however, as the Bible contains events by which man’s free will was set aside so that G-d’s purpose would occur. Two such instances would be Pharaoh during the Exodus event and Judas the Betrayer. However, Gordon could counter both arguments that G-d forcibly intervened because He needed to set up Y’shua’s death, and both events were necessary for such to occur.

Additionally, Gordon could argue that Pharaoh hardened his own heart, and that Judas chose betrayal of his own volition, but Scripture clearly indicates that G-d was involved in that process, to which the issue of G-d’s sovereignty and man’s free will arises. How does it work with those in play? Gordon would like to present that man’s free will is so paramount that G-d simply cannot act on His sovereign will because it would be outside His nature to allow free will to mankind. It is a difficult theological problem to consider, for certain.

Apart from establishing strong theological viewpoints without a solid base, Gordon does present other issues, seemingly creating new theological doctrine regarding the dominion of land, when although G-d gave the land to Adam, Adam did not own it, but was simply a caretaker. G-d still owned all of creation, otherwise G-d would not be able to forcibly remove Satan from his post in Revelation, as recorded for apocalyptic purposes. Such a situation does need to be carefully considered. Overall, Gordon’s work feels like he is establishing a theological doctrine without much proof, as if his word is proof enough. This is disconcerting in this regard.

Otherwise, Gordon’s writing is quite old and it brings valid question to its relevance today, since most studies require source within the past twenty years or so. If the doctrine of prayer has not changed since Gordon’s writing, then perhaps it should be re-evaluated. That said, the Azusa Street Revival has happened since the initial publication of this book, which has introduced newer theories regarding prayer and prayer life. Given this, Gordon’s book, which a short and challenging read as far as theological beliefs go, is deserving of an update altogether. The content of this book seems quite similar to Dave Earley’s book on prayer (Prayer: The Timeless Secret of High-Impact Leaders), yet Earley’s positions do not reflect anything outside Gordon’s initial statements.

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