License to Kill by Brian G. Hedges

Hedges, Brian G.  License to Kill: A Field Manual for Mortifying Sin.  Adelphi: Cruciform Press, 2011.  116 pp. Purchase at Westminster or you can sign up as a subscriber for even greater discounts.

Introduction

Brian G. Hedges is the lead pastor for Fulkerson Park Baptist Church in Niles, Michigan. He has been married to Holly since 1996 and has three children: Stephen, Matthew, and Susannah. He has contributed articles to Heartcry! A Journal on Revival and Spiritual Awakening, Pastor Connect, and The Banner of Truth magazine. He is the author of Christ Formed in You: The Power of the Gospel for Personal Change (Shepherd Press, 2010). You can read more about Brian at his website Light and Heat.

Summary

License to Kill is divided into nine chapters with two appendices.  Each chapter is no more than eleven pages long and, truth be told, the book can be read in one sitting (as with all resources published by Cruciform Press).  The first chapters defines the doctrine of mortification.  This is important as this is a doctrine (and a word) that has fallen out of use today, unfortunately.  Chapter two argues as to why sin must be killed while the third chapter explains that it is indwelling sin and not the physical body that must be killed.

Chapters four and five lay the primary foundation for the act of mortifying sin by detailing how sin works in our soul and helping the reader to prepare for mortification.  The reader quickly finds that mortification is hard work.  It can only be accomplished in the life of the believer through the power of the gospel.  The final three chapters look at how the cross of Christ kills sin and how we, through prayer and meditation can effectively wage the war against sin.

The two appendices are worthwhile (I will deal with the first below).  The second appendix offers some further reading in the area of mortification of sin.  It is important to note that the resources listed are either by dead or Reformed theologians.  I make note of this because there is not much found on this subject within Christendom at large.

Review

The book itself is an excellent and much needed resource today in the church.  In many ways, it is an updated version of John Owen’s Mortification of Sin though Hedges does not go nearly into the detail that Owen does.

My one concern is found in the first appendix.  Here is an apologetic for Paul describing a believer’s experience in Romans 7:14-25.  Brian definitely takes a more Reformed perspective which I actually agree with.  He only gives a page and a half to this discussion that has come down through the history of the church.  He offers a few sentences acknowledging that many have disagreed with his assessment, but then goes on to say that given his understanding (and mine), “this passage…speaks directly to us in our own struggles against sin.”

I believe it would have been better to simply leave this appendix out of the book given the limited space and the intended audience (that of not being academic in nature).  Regardless, there is nothing about License to Kill that is not worth reading.  Each chapter will strengthen and equip the believer in the battle against sin.  That is what is most important.

Recommendation

Because of the size of this book, I recommend it to every believer.  There are other resources available (see his Appendix 2) but none of which can be read in one sitting.  The fact that this book can be read quickly gives it its value to the reader today.  In an age where mortification of sin is hardly discussed, License to Kill offers a solution.  Pastors, this resource is an excellent gift to the one who just recently converted to Christ.  Of course, never let it supplant the reading of the Bible!

One thought on “License to Kill by Brian G. Hedges”

  1. What a wonderful review! I think of what St. Augustine calls that depraved and deep longing in our hearts that lures us into evil things. Augustine talks of stealing pears as a child and calls this frightening longing in our souls “the thrill of the forbidden”. Thank God that He sent Christ, and that through Him, we can kill sin, “Submit to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4). Also, when we stumble, (as we most assuredly will), we have an advocate in Christ Jesus, (1 John 2-2). Thanks again for your review. God bless.

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