Monday, June 01, 2009

Review: Just Do Something (Kevin DeYoung)

In a universe without God it really doesn't matter all that much what you do. If there is a God then that begins to raise questions about what to do with my life? Much of the questions about this are new questions, no-one has to ask career questions a few centuries ago - you'd just do what your parents did, nor marriage questions in some cultures - your parents could sort that for you. We are where we are though.

I picked up Kevin DeYoung's previous book 'Why we're not emergent' at Together for the Gospel last year. Some of the emergency engagement went past me, having not read much of that myself, though I liked the chapter the doctrine of scripture. His next book is much smaller and hits the question of guidance, walking between charismatic paralysis and its non-charismatic equivilents. The simple fact is that there's a lot of tosh in the evangelical mind about guidance concerning dreams, visions, fleeces, impressions, doors, verses-out-of-context etc. No doubt there's plenty of evangelical **** which could do with being flushed down the toilet asap. DeYoung is on the case to help us put less faith in ourselves and more in what God is saying.

Come spend some time with final year students (a situation DeYoung also faces at his church) trying to work out what to do next or whether a person is a suitable spouse, where to live, work etc and it's evident that all sorts of big decisions get made for very wierd reasons. People become Christians for wierd reasons too, and while the sovereign purposes of God can live with that, sometimes it might be worth avoiding the associated anxiety and baggage by doing things a bit more by the book.

DeYoung's book comes with a foreword by reformed charismatic pastor Joshua Harris and endorsements from the young, restless and reformed. The book doesn't make comfortable reading as DeYoung turns his sniper rifle on evangelical guidance shibboleths with his charge to search the scriptures and take responsibility for life. This could feel mean-spirited but it's offered from a friendly pastor. This could be mistaken for being anti-charismatic, brushing aside many of the things that we might be inclined to put our confidence in but I think he actually raises the stock of genuine prophetic words which are all too easily trivialised.

"Let's not spiritualize our inability to make decisions in the quest to discover God's will." Much like Jonathan Edwards Religious Affections (or the Sam Storms Signs of the Spirit edition) we find that many of the things we turn to are evidence of nothing. DeYoung changes the terms of the conversation pointing us away from waiting for words on the minutia of life towards active pursuit of godliness and the things God has spoken about - such as 'get a job' or as he challenges men "if you want to be married, find a godly gal, treat her right, talk to her parents, pop the question, tie the knot and start making babies."

Just Do Something raises the cry for God's sovereignty and for Human Responsibility in living. I'm reminded of G.K. Chesterton's comment that an open mind is good, but is also meant for closing on something. Life needs to be lived which entails making some decisions. Every thing we choose is a rejection of something else. That's part of the adventure. This is a good little book that wont solve all your guidance issues, but it will tell you to stop sitting around wondering what to do and get on with doing something.

Visit: Kevin DeYoung's blog. Buy Just Do
from Amazon

DeYoung includes the story of the 91 year old man who died waiting for the will of God ht: Matt Finn

1 comment:

  1. Cheers Dave, very useful and posted at the right time :)