Tag Archives: Kevin DeYoung

Taking God at His Word by Kevin DeYoung

Taking God at His WordDeYoung, Kevin.  Taking God at His Word: Why the Bible Is Knowable, Necessary, and Enough, and What That Means for You and Me.  Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2014. 138 pp.  $17.99.  Purchase at Westminster for less, at Amazon for $12.46 and on Kindle for $8.57.

Introduction

Kevin DeYoung is no stranger to Christian Book Notes nor is he a stranger to Christian writing as a genre.  I have reviewed a number of his works here and have always found him to be spot on with his assessments.  This particular book looks at the sufficiency of Scripture for the believer.

Summary

Divided into 8 chapters over a scant 138 pages, Kevin looks at the importance of knowing that we can trust the Bible as being the Word of God given to us.  He offers a couple foundational chapters on believing and feeling and doing something and directs us to the reality that there is indeed something more to the Bible than meets the eye.  The next five chapters expound on the doctrine of the Bible that evangelicalism and Christianity at large has held to for 2,000 years.

We read about God’s Word being enough, being clear, being final, and being necessary.  All of these point us to the truth that the Bible we read today can be verified as being the inerrant and infallible Word of God handed down to us through the centuries.

The seventh chapter looks at Christ’s unbreakable Bible – the Old Testament. The argument is basically if Jesus believed the OT to be historically true, then we ought to believe this as well.  The final chapter is that we are to stick with the Scriptures.  This is nothing less that the Reformation’s mantra of sola scriptura…Scripture alone!

Review

I honestly hate that this book is even necessary today.  I say this because in reading it, I am reminded of how many attacks have been, and are, leveled at the Bible.  I am reminded as a pastor just how difficult the job of expositing Scripture can be in a world that seeks to undermine the authority of the Bible at every possible moment.  How do we compete with the world? We faithfully preach God’s Word as wholly true and trustworthy.  We also read books like Kevin DeYoung’s Taking God at His Word.

He writes from an exposition of Psalm 119 (not the entire Psalm) and looks at how God’s Word still speaks to us today.  It must be noted that while he is arguing for the clarity of Scripture, he is explaining this doctrine for the intended audience without assuming they know or understand the doctrine itself.

This works amounts to a rudimentary seminary class on the doctrine of the Bible.  A discussion that is covered in an hour in most seminary-level classes today is here treated in a 138 page book written for the lay leader.

His work is relevant and much needed today as the Bible continues to be attacked by those who claim to be Christian (anyone for rewriting the sin of homosexuality?).  In reading this work, you will have a better understanding of what has been believed and held by Biblical Christianity for 2,000 years.  You will begin to also understand the reasons why you can trust the Bible that you are reading today.

Recommendation

I recommend this resource to all who are interested in the discussion of why we can trust the Bible.  Will there be critics? Absolutely.  Will you agree with everything? Probably not, but the argument cannot be made that DeYoung is self-defeating by explaining the clarity of Scripture when he is in all actuality teaching about the doctrine of the clarity of Scripture.

Crazy Busy by Kevin DeYoung

Crazy BusyDeYoung, Kevin.  Crazy Busy: A (Mercifully) Short Book About a (Really) Big Problem.  Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2013.  124 pp.  $11.99.  Purchase at Westminster Books for less.

Introduction

I have reviewed a few of Kevin’s books (read those reviews here) and have always found him to be an exceptionally practical author.  This particular resource looks at an area of life that is becoming a critical need that ought to be addressed more often.

Summary

Divided into 10 chapters over approximately 108 pages, this book is a short read.  DeYoung begins with a basic introduction that we all struggle with busyness.  He proceeds in chapter two to lay out three dangers we need to avoid and then proceeds to give 7 diagnoses from chapter 3-9.  Chapter 10 ultimately gives the general answer to our busyness but is not a “silver bullet” to cure the problem.

For more information, watch this video.

 

Review

Kevin actually places the issue of busyness squarely where the problem is within ourselves — i.e., it is a spiritual problem robbing us of our joy.  He writes not as one who has figured out the problem of busyness.  Instead, Kevin writes as one who recognizes there is a problem and wants to do something about it.  Chances are, you do too.

Personally, I read this book after having read Richard Swenson’s Margin and Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habit (Read review here).  In a sense, DeYoung does a great job of summarizing both works and placing the impetus on our relationship with Christ – something not done by Duhigg and was a bit limited in Swenson.  Regardless, I found DeYoung to be a breath of fresh air that offered a realistic solution to a serious problem in our, but not limited to, western culture.

The diagnoses from chapters 3-9 are legit and understood by all because we all struggle with this area of life.  (Yes, I am making an assumption.)  His tips to handle the problem are both practical and, believe it or not, doable.  It is more a matter of making the change and saying no to others than one might think.

This resource can be read in about 2 hours though you will want to download and use the free study guide.

Recommendation

I can see this book being used as study materials in small group settings, deacons, elders, youth groups, families, etc.  I recommend this resource to everyone, Christian and nonChristian, as the advice offered is practical and needed.  We are indebted to Kevin for taking time out of his crazy schedule to pen this book.

Preaching & Preachers: 40th Anniversary Edition by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, edited by Kevin DeYoung

Lloyd-Jones, D. Martyn.  Preaching & Preachers: 40th Anniversary Edition.  Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2011.  352 pp.  $22.99.  Purchase at Westminster for much less.

Introduction/Summary

Preaching & Preachers is undoubtedly the greatest book to be published on preaching in the last 40 years.  Martyn Lloyd-Jones lectured on this subject at Westminster Theological Seminary back in the Spring of 1969.  They have been influencing pastors ever since.

The original book was published in 1972 and has gone through numerous editions (nothing has changed in the text since 1972).  This latest edition is the 40th anniversary “deluxe” edition.

In this edition, Kevin DeYoung serves as editor.  Most importantly, the text has remained the same.  What has been added are essays from Bryan Chapell, Mark Dever, Kevin DeYoung, Ligon Duncan, Timothy Keller, and John Piper.  DeYoung also included subheadings in the chapters to help the modern reader.

Review

There is nothing that can be said about the text of Preaching and Preachers that has not already been said.  After only 40 years, it is truly a modern-day classic on the subject of preaching.  Some will agree with what the Doctor said and some will disagree.  Regardless, what you will discover is that ML-J was passionate about this one subject more than anything else he ever discussed.

The essays that are sprinkled throughout this anniversary edition are of immense help.  These essays are akin to asking some of today’s most noted preachers why and how Preaching and Preachers helped them in their ministry.

What is more, you will discover that this is not a book that will be read once and put back on the shelf.  Its impact will long-lasting and invaluable to the young man seeking to become a preacher.  As you return to it through the years (as I have in only the past 5 years), you will find yourself saying “So, that was where I arrived at that conclusion” or “That is where this idea originated.”

The essays and subheadings only add to the nature and usefulness of this invaluable resource for pastors.

Recommendation

This work is a must read for all who are set apart to be preachers of the gospel whether in a local church setting or as a missionary or evangelist.  While written to the pastor in the pulpit, its value will far exceed just the local pulpit.  This will be a foundational book, I pray, for future generations of preaching.  Preaching and Preachers is an excellent book to give to a young man considering the ministry or who was just licensed or ordained.

Don’t Call it a Comeback edited by Kevin DeYoung

Don’t Call it a Comeback:  The Old Faith for a New Day.  Edited by Kevin DeYoung.  Wheaton:  Crossway Books, 2011.  254 pp.  $16.99.  Purchase at Westminster Books for $9.97.

Introduction

With contributions from Tim Challies, Russell Moore, Owen Strachan, Justin Taylor, Darrin Patrick, Thabiti Anyabwile, and more, Don’t Call it a Comeback is a who’s who of young Christian men who are pastors, professors, and theologians and not necessarily one or the other.  Often times they are all three and certainly all are theologians.  That is the point of this book–evangelicalism at its core is theologically driven.

Summary

The book is divided into three parts and consists of 18 chapters.  The first part looks at both the future and past of evangelical history.  Here, Kevin DeYoung offers a great chapter entitled “The Secret to Reaching the Next Generation.” The next two sections look at the theology of evangelicalism and then what it looks like to put that theology into practice.

Part two offers fairly short chapters lining out the biblically historical understanding of doctrines like who God is, what the Scriptures are, the proper understanding of the gospel and being born again as well as a few chapters on what it means to be saved (sanctification) and how we are saved (Christ alone).

The third part explains how we are to live our lives God’s way based on a proper understanding of our theology (part two).  Contributing to this section are men like Darrin Patrick (discussing social justice), Justin Taylor (on abortion), Tullian Tchividjian (worship) and David Mathis (discussing missions).

The end of each chapter offers a recommended resource list.  If one were to build a library using this book and the recommended resources, he (or she) would have a library that would rival most pastors as far as theology is concerned!

Review

Logical arguments, short chapters packed with much information rooted in Scripture and proper historical understandings and an awesome recommended resource list?  What else can I say about this book?  I appreciated the general Christian approach to the writing of this book and not a denominational approach.  You have men all over the “conservative” theological spectrum contributing to this work.  In essence, what you have is a work that clearly articulates a biblical view of those doctrines that matter most within Christianity.

Given all the hoopla over the latest book by Rob Bell that brings the reality of Hell into question, I would have liked to have seen some more in depth treatment of that subject.  To be fair, however, Don’t Call it a Comeback was published first.  Perhaps what I enjoyed most about the book is that the contributors tried very hard (and succeeded) in learning from history and pushing us forward into the future.

Recommendation

At the beginning of the book, Kevin DeYoung writes in the introduction that he couldn’t articulate what he believed and why he believed it.  For me, that was one of the main stumbling blocks (humanly speaking) as an unbeliever I had with those who would witness to me and attempt to share the gospel.  I would ask them basic questions as to what they believed and why they believed it.  Most were unable to answer.  I recall when the Lord did save me that it became my goal to be so familiar with the truth that I would recognize heresy immediately.  Shortly after delving into the world of apologetics (a place I still love to go!), I realized that the best method of defending my faith was an education in the Bible. That was five years ago and I am still learning and I assume I will continue learning for the rest of my life.

All that to say that I wish this book was around 10 years ago when I was first saved!  Good, quality mentors are hard to find and as one who is part of this young generation (I am 33), I have longed for an older man to mentor me day in and day out.  I have been blessed by seasons of mentoring but that is about it.  While it is hard to say a book can be a mentor, I can at least offer the recommendation that Don’t Call it a Comeback is a book that should be offered to young Christians within days or weeks of coming to Christ.  Pastor, make this book available to your congregation.

Just Do Something by Kevin DeYoung

DeYoung, Kevin. Just Do Something: A Liberating Approach to Finding God’s Will. Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2009. 128 pp. $10.99. Purchase the book at Westminster for $7.69.

Audiobook

Narrated by Adam Verner. Escondido: christianaudio Hovel. 3 hours. Download–$9.98, CD–$15.98.

Introduction

A search on Amazon for books on God’s Will returns over 231,000 results.  Everyone wants to know what God’s will is for their life.  Not everyone wants to actually do God’s will for their lives.  Kevin DeYoung challenges many preconceived notions in his book Just Do Something.

Summary

In an extremely short book, Kevin DeYoung begins by smashing what many use as a crutch–trying to discern the will of God.  He states at the end of chapter one that our seeking the will of God has enabled us to postpone growing up.  He likens our seeking the will of God as asking the great Magic 8-Ball whether or not we should eat at McDonald’s or Arby’s.

There is a better way.  DeYoung explains what that is and what it looks like in the Christian’s life.  Basically, the title of the books says it all…Just do something!  Though some might think that just doing something is aimless, we are presented with the tools (think prayer and Scripture reading) to discern God’s will in your life.  It is at this point that you are able to know that you are walking in the will of God.

Audio/Content Review

Adam Verner does not read this book in a dry, formal manner.  He reads more as though he is your pastor and you are discussing the matter of seeking God’s will for your life at your local coffee shop.  I appreciated his voice inflection as well as his tempo in reading.

The content of the book was dead on.  Kevin DeYoung nails it as far as the paralysis of analysis that grips many young Christians today.  We have made an idol out of seeking God’s will and Kevin attempts to rectify this in 128 short pages.  His use of Scripture helps to elucidate his solution to the problem which in the end is a biblical solution.

Recommendation

Just Do Something is a book that needs to be read by every Christian, young and old.  The book can be read in one sitting if you have the time (say 2 1/2 hours).  It makes for an excellent study for youth groups and adult bible study groups.  Kevin DeYoung offers many morsels to chew on when it comes to discerning God’s will for one’s life.  Having the book to read is great–you will mark it up with your fountain pen.  Having the book to listen to was even more of a bonus–I felt as though I was in the middle of a conversation.  Adam Verner really makes listening to the book an enjoyable experience.