Saturday, February 26, 2011

Book Review: Don't Call It A Comeback

Don't Call It A Comeback: the Old Faith For a New Day. Edited by Kevin DeYoung. Foreword by D.A. Carson. 2011. Crossway Books. 256 pages.

Don't Call It A Comeback is a collection of essays on evangelicalism. It's divided into three parts: Evangelical History: Looking Forward and Looking Back; Evangelical Theology: Thinking, Feeling, and Believing the Truths That Matter Most; Evangelical Practice: Learning to Live Life God's Way. Here are the chapter titles:

  • The Secret To Reaching the Next Generation by Kevin DeYoung
  • The Story of Evangelicalism from the Beginning and Before by Collin Hansen
  • God: Not Like You by Jonathan Leeman
  • Scripture: How the Bible Is A Book Like No Other by Andy Naselli
  • The Gospel: God's Self-Substitution for Sinners by Greg Gilbert
  • New Birth: "You Must Be Born Again" by Ben Peays
  • Justification: Why the Lord Our Righteousness Is Better News Than The Lord Our Example by Jay Harvey
  • Sanctification: Being Authentically Messed Up Is Not Enough by Owen Strachan
  • Kingdom: Heaven After Earth, Heaven On Earth, Or Something Else Entirely by Russell Moore
  • Jesus Christ: The Only Way and Our Only Hope by Tim Challies
  • It's Sometimes A Wonderful Life: Evangelicals and Vocation by Ted Kluck
  • Social Justice: What's God Got To Do, Got To Do With It by Darrin Patrick
  • Homosexuality: Grace, Truth, and the Need for Gentle Courage by Eric Redmond and Kevin DeYoung
  • Abortion: Why Silence and Inaction Are Not Options for Evangelicals by Justin Taylor
  • Gender Confusion and a Gospel-Shaped Counterculture by Denny Burk
  • The Local Church: Not Always Amazing, But Loved By Jesus by Thabiti Anyabwile
  • Worship: It's A Big Deal by Tullian Tchividjian
  • Missions: The Worship of Jesus and the Joy of All Peoples by David Mathis

I'd say that Don't Call It A Comeback fits nicely into two categories. I see it as both "Christian Living" and "Theology." I won't say that "Christian Living" is more practical, more daily than "Theology." Because I *do* feel that things can be relevant to the mind, to the soul, to the heart. That a book that engages--challenges--what you believe does influence how you live your life.

As a collection of essays, I thought it was strong. While not every reader will *love* every essay, I do think chances are good that you'll find something worth reading, worth your time. I'm sharing some of my favorite quotes from my favorite essays. I didn't include a quote from every essay--even though I found something of worth in each one. But this should give you some idea of what this one is like!

From "The Secret To Reaching The Next Generation":

I've come up with five suggestions for pastors, youth workers, campus staff, and anyone else who wants to pass the faith on to the next generation: Grab them with passion. Win them with love. Hold them with holiness. Challenge them with truth. Amaze them with God. (22)

If our evangelical faith is boring to us, it will be boring to others. If the gospel is old news to you, it will be dull news to everyone else. (23)

Grow in God and you'll make a difference in people's lives. If nothing of spiritual significance is happening in your church, your Bible study, your small group, or your family, it may be because nothing spiritually significant is happening in your life. (25)

I'm convinced that if Christianity is to be a mile wide again in America, it will first have to find a way to be a mile deep. (29)

The gospel is not a message about what we need to do for God, but about what God has done for us. So get them with the good news about who God is and what he has done for us. (29)

Don't preach your doubts as mystery. And don't reduce God to your own level. If ever people were starving for a God the size of God, surely it is now. (29)

From "The Gospel: God's Self-Substitution For Sinners":

It's the guilt that makes the cross necessary. Not the feeling of guilt, but the reality of it. (75)

I'm convinced that part of the reason many evangelicals have begun to lose their grasp on the cross is that we have lost sight of why we need to be saved. We've forgotten, and even in some cases deliberately disregarded, what sin is and how profound is its offense to God. (74)

From "New Birth: "You Must Be Born Again"":

We cannot believe unless we are born again. The important factor is that God, in his grace, has enabled both regeneration and faith despite your sin. You believe because God has enabled you to do so. Belief is actually an evidence that someone has experienced the new birth. (91)

From "Justification: The Lord Our Righteousness":

We constantly want to justify ourselves before God, to be good enough without Christ. But God does not want us to trust in our goodness. He does not want us to make up for our past sins through present obedience. He does not want us to think that we are good enough to go to heaven by comparing ourselves to the Hitlers and Stalins of the world. Comparisons are useless when it comes to establishing righteousness before God. God crucified his one and only Son for our justification, and he wants us to trust in him alone. When it comes to being justified, faith plus anything else is quicksand. The only ground for right standing before God is Christ Jesus grabbed ahold of by faith. (101)

From "Jesus Christ: The Only Way and Our Only Hope":

There is only one kind of man--the man trapped in the total depravity of his sinful nature, inherited from his father Adam (Rom. 5:18). And since there is only one kind of man, there is only one kind of salvation--faith through the second Adam, Jesus Christ. (135)

From "The Local Church: Not Always Amazing, But Loved By Jesus":

Intentionally organizing a church where all the members are alike may be a great work of man, but it's not a great work of God. As one theologian put it, it may be little more than self-love spread over a wider area. (205)

From "Worship: It's A Big Deal":

Once God rescues sinners, his plan isn't to steer them beyond the gospel but to move them more deeply into it. After all, the only antidote to sin is the gospel--and since Christians remain sinners even after they're converted, the gospel must be the medicine a Christian takes every day. Since we never leave off sinning, we can never leave the gospel. (221)

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

No comments: