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mercredi, mars 03, 2010

 Sanctified Common Sense: Kevin DeYoung's "Just Do Something"

Kevin DeYoung's third book offering with Moody Press, and his first solo effort, is a humble one - both in terms of it size (it's just a couple of cm shy of A5 size), and in terms of its length - a mere ten (short) chapters.

And yet the book(let) packs a theological punch on the topic of "finding God's will". I love the title - "Just Do Something - A Liberating Approach to Finding God's Will" OR "How To Make A Decision Without Dreams, Visions, Impressions, Open Minds, Random Bible Verses, Casting Lots, Liver Shivers, Writing in the Sky, etc."

I think it was the "etc." right at the end which sold me on the book.

Jokes aside, I really like how the alternative title to the book starts to debunk the myths involving "discerning God's will" - talk about judging a book by its cover! I'm fairly certain that most Christians have used - or thought of using - one of those "biblically correct" methods of discerning God's will for their lives. The book should grab you by your false teachings and assumptions, and shake you out of your theological stupor as your eyes skim the titles in your favourite Christian bookstore.

What's the book about? DeYoung doesn't just write about the HOW, he went looking for some other "W"s as well, like why the issue is so important, why we vacillate in our decisions, what exactly are we looking for when we say we're seeking the will of God, and how we should do all this Christian living bit.

The book is short enough that you can finish it in a couple of hours, but I've always advocated against rushing through Christian books like it was the Tom Bombadil bit in Lord of the Rings. Christian books aren't fiction. They're supposed to be friends helping to encourage you, and rebuke you along the way to Christlikeness, and rushing through them just feels like a deluge of rain on hard clay - you'll get runoff and nothing's going to seep into your soil to nurture your soul.

Colossians 1:28 (ESV) - Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ.

The next bit's an overview of the main topics of the book, so as to whet your appetite to buy the book, and read it. Because it's really worth buying! Seriously! Call up the Singapore Baptist Bookstore and see if they stock it, then go out and get it!

Singapore Baptist Bookstore
1 Goldhill Plaza #01-25 S(308899)
Tel: +65-62537024/+65-62537578
Fax: +65-62524450
Email: bbsbooks@singnet.com.sg



A Little More Depth...
What are some factors that suggested a book like this was necessary? Besides a lot of postmodern unbiblical practices (come on, admit that you've ever used the "if God opens the door..." justification!), there's this pesky problem of extended adolescence, where more youth/young adults are extending (sometimes indefinitely) the time taken to complete major life transitions like (i) leaving home, (ii) finishing school, (iii) financial independence, (iv) getting married, (v) having children. Note that as a Singaporean, I understand that "leaving home" may not be financially feasible - indeed it may actually get in the way of "finishing school" and "financial independence", but I read these transitions as broadly indicative rather than a prescription for "you've got it made".

This phenomenon isn't really the problem - the symptom points towards something far graver, which DeYoung addresses - many Christians are using "seeking the will of God" as an excuse (or reason) for delaying decision-making. Other reasons that DeYoung suggests are timidity/ fear/ cowardice, perfectionism/kiasu-ism ("sure confirm double-chop steady bom-pi-pi") and choice paralysis. He pokes holes in each of these justifications after with giving a much-needed backgrounder on the Will of God.

Leaning on Ecumenical Creeds and Reformed Confessions and Gerald Sittser's The Will of God as a Way of Life: Finding and Following the Will of God, DeYoung covers a) God's Will of Decree (aka God always wins) b) God's Will of Desire (aka stuff God commanded and we should obey) c) God's Will of Direction (aka what to do nownownow?)

He suggests an answer - to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. Sounds like a cop-out, doesn't it? But it's not.

The better part of the book is devoted to helping define and (re)shape your ideas on how to develop "sanctified common sense", which is something far, far lacking in the world today. DeYoung poses a simple three-step framework by which to make decisions: check it against scripture, wise counsel, and prayer.

The penultimate chapter takes these principles and applies it to two situations where people find the most to "seek God's will" about: jobs and marriage. He concludes with a mostly narrative chapter, telling the story of his grandfather, and how his grandpa didn't bother living a live obsessed with finding the "will of God" - he just believed, acted according to those Christian beliefs, and made decisions.

I think that's a life worth emulating.

Libellés : ,

[Sanctified Common Sense: Kevin DeYoung's "Just Do Something"]
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