Book Review: Just Do Something

Just Do Something:  A Liberating Approach To Finding God’s Will, by Kevin DeYoung

Even before the author told the reader himself outright, I could tell that the author was a Calvinist.  Whether or not this is a good thing or not depends on your opinion of Calvinism.  Despite having some good feelings for Calvin’s writings, I am in general rather down on Calvinism [1], and my feelings about Calvinism certainly color my opinion of this book, even if I found it entertaining and generally agreed with its points if not the way that the author went about defending his position.  This book is a good example of saying the right thing the wrong way, and is an object lesson in the problem of so many Calvinist texts.  Even when Calvinists get the right position about the matters they write about, as is the case here, they often err in terms of their approach, by being overly hostile and negative toward the reader.  The author seems to assume, falsely in this case, that the reader is someone who has a mistaken idea of God’s will, and blames the reader for being timid or lazy in not being more active in doing what God wants us to do so that His will may be better known.  The right position argued the wrong way is the wrong argument.

As far as books go, this is a short one with ten chapters (along with a foreword, acknowledgments, notes, and study guide) that together take up less than 150 pages.  The author begins with a discussion on how our fixation with knowing what God has planned for us leads us on the long road to nowhere (1), before commenting on what the will of God means in Christianese (2).  After that the author comments on how people are directionally challenged in seeking God’s specific will rather than doing what they know to be right and letting God sort out the details (3) and that many people expect God to be like a magic 8-ball telling them the answers to their myriad questions (4).  The author then contrasts this way with the better way of getting out and doing something (5) and pointing out that God provides ordinary guidance and occasionally supernatural surprises to what we have planned (6).  This leads the author into a discussion of tools of the trade in ways that people try to understand God’s will (7) and the way of wisdom in walking in scripture and good counsel (8).  The author then closes with some comments on God’s will as it relates to work and wedlock (9) and the end of the matter, which is mercifully actually the end of this book (10).

This is a book that I would want to like more.  I agree with much that the author says–too many people are not willing to go out and do what God tells them to do and instead are waiting for God to give them a personalized plan for life on how to make every decision.  Yet the author makes a mistake that many people make in attacking his would-be audience, although I suspect that most of the people the author is likely to attack are not the readers of his book.  He makes fun of millennials, blames single men for being afraid of commitment, attacks those who are by nature somewhat more timid and anxious and generally makes himself as unpleasant a Calvinist as any other.  Even though much of what the author says about the will of God and how to best understand it through doing what is right and living as best as one can while being open to the promptings of God and the opportunities that are provided happens to be what I agree with, I just wish the author weren’t such a bully about his writing.  There has to be a way to convey truth in a way that is not an attack on other people, and this author quite simply fails to find it.

[1] See, for example:

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2018/07/07/book-review-calvin-on-prayer/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2012/11/08/calvinisms-cold-comfort/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2018/10/04/book-review-gods-way-of-peace/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2018/09/22/book-review-institutes-of-the-christian-religion/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2018/07/15/book-review-the-doctrine-of-the-will/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2018/07/07/book-review-on-the-christian-life/

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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