Book Review: Still Restless

Still Restless: Conversations That Open The Door To Peace, by Jan David Hettinga

[Note: This book was provided free of charge by Kregel Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.]

I’m not sure what I expected this book to be, from its title, but I do know that it ended up being a lot better than I expected it to be. About two hundred pages in length, if one includes the thoughtful and extensive discussion questions included after the main material of the book, this book manages to discuss in that brief space an issue that is of critical importance to professed believers and nonbelievers alike, but is an issue I cannot ever remember reading in the systematic and illuminating way discussed here. The subject is the contrast between the kingdoms that we have for ourselves and that we enlist the help of God in maintaining, and which we defend from the authority that God claims over all aspects of our lives. Through a combination of close reading of various biblical examples from the Gospels [1], the author discusses what barriers people presented to believing Jesus Christ’s message, and how he approached people based on where they were coming from, and what it was that led those who believed to surrender their own personal kingdoms and become part of the Kingdom of God, and how the same elements are the case today.

In terms of its organization, the book is divided into two parts and sixteen chapters, but shows a consistent process throughout, along with a consistent set of diagrams showing various personality profiles of people, based on whether they have kingdoms of intellect, kingdoms of wealth and power, kingdoms of shame, kingdoms of victimhood, and so on. The astounding array of ways that people put distance between themselves and the ethical demands of the Bible is astounding, and many of the stories from the author, where the names have been changed to protect the guilty, are quite heart-rending and authentic. The first eight chapters talk about eight characteristic ways that serve as sources of restlessness for people: being restless about God, playing God, walking way from God, arguing with God, being angry with God, blaming God, abusing God, and being at odds with God. The second part of the book, not surprisingly, is about the sorts of ways that people can come to the end of their restlessness about God, namely in being curious about God, being thirsty for God, questioning God, seeing God, being ready to meet God, giving up to God, having respect for God, and coming to God. After this comes an epilogue which is clearly and transparently an altar call, but one that does not call for mere verbal assent but rather for a commitment on the part of the reader to let God rule over all aspects of our lives, an admirable biblical aim that has implications far beyond what the author actually discusses.

This book manages to strike a rare combination of being deeply emotional and relational in its approach to the barriers between having a relationship of intimate trust with God, and being very systematic and intellectual in its approach, categorizing different strategies by which men attempt to fend off the demands of God’s ways. There are ways, for example, where the author might find himself engaging in the same sorts of defenses when faced, to use an example not entirely at random, with God’s Sabbath commands [2]. That said, this book is a reminder that whether it is pride or shame or an unforgiving heart that holds us back from a loving and trusting relationship with God, all of us have our own sets of barriers based on our experiences and our commitments, and even our dreams, and viewing this subject in a systematic way, one that is not lengthy but is complete, is an immensely worthwhile task. This book is worthwhile when it comes to Christian counseling as well as in evangelistic efforts, as it suggests that a given segment of people will have similar approaches to trying to fob off God’s demands for rulership in their lives, and will have similar aspects of kingdoms in their own lives that need to be dealt with, so this is a book that is not only easy to read and very practical, but actually serves as great food for thought in seeking to put the principles spoken of into action, which is the point of any book worth reading, after all.

[1] Many of them which I have discussed with a slightly different emphasis, but the same general conclusions:

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2015/10/19/a-compendium-of-jesus-interactions-with-outsiders-in-the-synoptic-gospels-part-one/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2015/10/21/a-compendium-of-jesus-interactions-with-outsiders-in-the-synoptic-gospels-part-two/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2015/10/26/a-compendium-of-jesus-interactions-with-outsiders-in-the-synoptic-gospels-part-three/

[2] See, for example:

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2015/11/23/hebrews-41-11-there-remains-therefore-a-sabbath-rest-for-the-people-of-god/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2015/11/18/the-pattern-of-sabbath-observance-in-the-journeys-of-paul/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2015/11/15/a-compendium-of-sabbath-observance-in-the-book-of-acts/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2015/11/12/book-review-from-sabbath-to-sunday-1928/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2013/09/01/exodus-231-19-the-relationship-between-the-sabbath-and-justice/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2012/06/16/exodus-31-12-18-the-sabbath-covenant/

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in Bible, Biblical History, Book Reviews, Christianity, Church of God, History and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Book Review: Still Restless

  1. Pingback: Book Review: Safe House | Edge Induced Cohesion

  2. Pingback: Worse Than Useless | Edge Induced Cohesion

  3. Pingback: Book Review: When There Are No Easy Answers | Edge Induced Cohesion

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s