I’ve been holiday and managed to finish a couple of books. Here’s some thoughts about them.
Killing Calvinism: How To Kill A Perfectly Good Theology From The Inside by Greg Dutcher
Now here is a book for Calvinists.
If you’re wanting to explore what Calvinism is then go elsewhere, just as the author says in his introduction. But, if you’re a Calvinist who doesn’t want to be a tool then please read this book. It will be very beneficial for you.
It’s a short book, around 100 pages. There are 8 chapters, each outlining how to ruin Calvinism and its appeal. Implied in each chapter is a call to gracious humility, calling Calvinists to be more generous and winsome in communicating and teaching biblical doctrine. At the end of each chapter there is an appropriate prayer to pray as well.
It’s part biographical, which adds to its readability.
I thought is was worth the read.
“The sovereignty of God is truly awesome in its power to put new life into the sinner’s soul. But God saved us to “see and savor” much more than just his sovereignty. While relishing the sovereignty of God in salvation is good and healthy, relishing only God’s sovereignty is unhealthy and lopsided…This world desperately needs to see a robust, healthy Calvinism that celebrates the fullness of God’s ways and works – not a lopsided Christian who cannot get off the hobbyhorse of God’s sovereignty.” (p42-43)
Changing The World: Through Effective Youth Ministry by Ken Moser
I was gifted this book at Christmas off the back of a fellow Youth Minister’s recommendation. I finally got around to reading it and I would recommend it to others.
This is really a foundational youth ministry textbook. You could use it in the classroom, with an intern, or with a group of youth leaders.
There’s 15 chapters, making up 150-odd pages.
The author’s contention is that all youth ministry should be focussed on discipleship. The focus of any church-based youth ministry should be targeting those who are part of the church, such as teenagers of church families. This begins with developing a group, no matter how large or small, that grows through the teaching of God’s Word and community together. From this foundation the youth ministry grows organically through the evangelism and mission of those within the youth ministry itself.
I tend to agree with the majority of what Ken Moser, the author, writes. He goes hard against an entertainment model of youth ministry that essentially means the church is running a baby-sitting club on Friday nights. However, he goes so hard against it that at times it feels like this model of youth ministry would be the most boring thing ever. I’m not convinced that youth ministry is solely bible studies with light refreshments and the odd social tacked on once every few months.
In case I’m being too unfair, I do think it lays out a good foundation for discipleship and rightly highlights the need for strategic youth ministry. There are also a few resources provided in the latter chapters to help someone fresh in running a youth ministry.
It would make my top 5 books on youth ministry.
“As I reflect on youth ministry, I am absolutely convinced that ministry to young people is about grabbing hold of this world with the gospel of Christ, shaking it alive and placing it on the road toward eternal life. In short, youth ministry is about changing the world for Christ. Nothing more, nothing less. There is an urgency to our job, be clear on this.” (pXII)
Generous Justice: How God’s Grace Makes Us Just by Tim Keller
I’m blown away by this book and I haven’t even finished it yet. In fact, I don’t think I’m even a third of the way through it.
This book is simply making the case that speaking and acting for justice in our world is a natural part of what it means to be a Christian. Whether it is an international cause or simply caring for your neighbour, the bible speaks constantly of the need to care for others and help meet their needs.
Already I am heavily convicted by this book. It is deeply biblical and provides an excellent case for compassion ministry, particularly through the church.
I look forward to finishing this one and seeing what happens in my own life in response to it.
“A lack of justice is a sign that the worshippers’ hearts are not right with God at all, that their prayers and all their religious observance are just filled with self and pride.” (p50)
“The disposition of one’s possessions signifies the disposition of one’s heart.” (p51)
“Anyone who has truly been touched by the grace of God will be vigorous in helping the poor.” (p54)
“The Biblical perspective sees sexual immorality and material selfishness as both flowing from self-centredness rather than God-centredness.” (p55)
This has now gone on longer than I had hoped. Anyway, I also attempted to read The Messiah Code, a novel written by Michael Cordy. I tried. I really did. I made it to page 80 and gave it back to the op shop. It wasn’t great.
Have you read anything interesting lately?