The Biblio-Files

bib·li·o·phile (bĭb'lē-ə-fīl') n.

1. A lover of books.
2. A collector of books.


Young, Restless, Reformed: A Journalist's Journey with the New Calvinists

Chance? Coincidence? Providence. I just happened to pull up this blog tonight, ready to compose a review of the most recent book that I have read, and behold, Eron reviewed a book that deals with somewhat the same topic. While my review may not satisfy your tastes as much as Plev's, I hope I can do the blog justice. 

Since I first saw this book in the "Coming Soon" section of Monergismbooks, I pretty much knew that I wanted to read it. Mainly out of curiosity, I wanted to see what the author had to say about young people "discovering" reformed theology. Since coming to the doctrines of grace, even though I know there are many Christians who believe the same way, it seems as if there are just a small number of people who hold to the same view of scripture.

Collin Hansen, the author of the book, does a great job in traveling across the nation, visiting with young people and seasoned people alike at conferences, in their offices, at Starbucks, etc. Essentially, his purpose is to try and find out why there is such a resurgence among young people yearning for doctrine in the place of easy-believism. 

The Places We Will Go
Hansen hits all of the major hotbeds for reformed theology, both in the present age and in times past. He visits with young people attending a Passion conference in Atlanta. He makes the journey to Louivsille, twice, to attend T4G and NA. He is invited to Piper's personal home for supper. He travels back to Yale to see where Edwards taught and where reformed theology is still preached. He hits up Driscoll in Seattle and Sovereign Grace in Maryland. There aren't many more places that he could go in order to flesh out the reason that youngsters are yearning for some meat. 

The Peope You Will Meet
As the author travels to each destination, he is constantly in conversation (I feel all emergent writing that! =D) with those who have come to the doctrines of grace, and even some who do not agree with them. At each place the author reveals some reason why young people are wanting scriptural teaching. Some he talks to come from a church background, but yet were never taught Scripture. Others come from a drug/criminal background and truly understand what it means to be saved by a sovereign God. And he visits those who were taught liberal doctrine in seminary, but the Lord lead them into a biblical view of Himself.

Why The Resurgence?
Overall, it seems to me that young people are tired of being spoon-fed Christianity. They are tired of having the Gospel presented as a set of rules. The theatrics of "religion" are not as relevant as some leaders would like to believe. A desire to know the transcendent God is bringing people, young and old alike, to a high and right view of God and a low view of man which is really at the root of reformed doctrine.

Who You Won't Meet...Directly
There were only a couple of complaints about this book that I could find. One being Hansen is not able to talk to more conservative leaders of the resurgence. There is no direct interview with MacArthur or Sproul or Dever. I would have liked to see him delve deeper into those who are influenced by their teaching, which leads to my next "complaint": Where are the interviews with those who are drawn to traditional worship?

I know this is knit-picking, but I firmly believe that there are those young people who are drawn to traditional, conservative worship, I being one of them. I love old hymns. I love the deepness and richness of the doctrine found within them. I love their view of God and man. I prefer traditional, and I think that there are a number of people who feel the same way. I felt like the book is missing something because of this. The author leaves you with the impression that a transcendent God can only be found in praise music, which is not the case.

My Thoughts
Would I recommend this book to others? Yes. I think it provides important insight into why young people are drawn to "old doctrine" and true study of scripture. Would I like to see more in terms of what I mentioned above? Of course. We all have our preferences. I am just "old fashioned."


Jamie Butts said...

Good post, "Miles"! I'm glad you read that book and summarized it for me, because it sounded interesting but I probably won't get to reading it myself. :) Your thoughts and summaries were helpful.
Happy Baby's-Coming Month and Birthday Month, if I remember correctly.

Blake White said...

Helpful reviews fellas. Keep them coming.

Eron said...


Dude, I enjoyed that review. I picked this book up a few weeks ago and put it on the summer list. I don't know if I will get to it soon though, so thanks for the review. I like your format.

It's unfortunate that "the author leaves you with the impression that a transcendent God can only be found in praise music." I guess since he's kind of exploring a "trend" (I'm using "trend" in the strictly sociological sense), that impression might be a part of the package of the resurgence. I dunno.

I am reading a book right now called Worship by the Book edited by D.A. Carson that speaks to this issue of worship and the role of music, etc. Tim Keller has a chapter that is quite helpful. I just finished the book today so I might throw some quotes on my blog.


Thanks again.

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