Book Review: The Good News We Almost Forgot

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The Good News We Almost Forgot by Kevin DeYoung is an awesome look at the Heidelberg Catechism from the 16th century.  I’m grateful for the opportunity to dig into God’s word and really wrestle with my own theology.  I think this is a valuable exercise on a regular basis to keep my heart and mind focused on the main thing.  Our culture is full of noise and shifting tides, but the gospel remains our steady anchor.  If you are up for it, grab a copy of this book and engage the questions…really wrestle with them and ask the Lord to speak to your heart on these major issues.

I highlighted several things while reading and have posted my notes below…

  • The only thing more difficult than finding the truth is not losing it.  What starts out as new and precious becomes plain and old.  What begins a thrilling discovery becomes a rote exercise.  What provokes one generation to sacrifice and passion becomes in the next generation a cause for rebellion and apathy.  Why is it that denominations and church movements almost always drift from their theological moorings?  Why is it that people who grew up in the church are often less articulate about their faith than the new Christian who converted at forty-five? Why is it that those who grow up with creeds and confessions are usually the ones who hate them most? p. 13
  • The gospel summarized in the Heidelberg Catechism is glorious, its Christ gracious, its comfort rich, its Spirit strong, its God sovereign, and its truth timeless.  You can meet Christ here, if you will simply come and see.  p. 18
  • Question 1 of the Catechism shapes our whole existence.  The first thing we need to know as a Christian is the we belong to Jesus and not ourselves. p. 22
  • Belonging to Jesus and not ourselves means knowing three things: guilt, grace, and gratitude.  The rest of the Catechism will follow this threefold outline.  First, we understand our sin.  Then we understand salvation.  And finally we understand how we are sanctified to serve. p. 23
  • The first thing we need in order to experience the comfort of the gospel is to be made uncomfortable with our sin. p. 25
  • Divine love without divine wrath is meaningless.  When we minimize God’s justice, we do not exalt His mercy, we undermine it.  God’s mercy exhibits its full power and sweetness when we see it not merely as a general goodwill to all people, but as the means by which God’s people are rescued, in Christ, from their just wrath and condemnation. p. 35
  • There is nothing more important in Christian theology than our theology of the cross.  We must speak clearly the the heart of the gospel is the good news of divine self-satisfaction through divine self-substitution.  Never compromise on the cross.  Never dilute the message of the cross.  And never stop glorying in the cross where Christ accepted the penalties that should belong to us so that we can claim the blessings that would otherwise belong only to Him. p. 43
  • Question 27: What do you understand by the providence of God?  Providence is the almighty and ever present power of God by which He upholds, as with His hand, heaven and earth and all creatures, and so rules them that leaf and blade, rain and drought, fruitful and lean years, food and drink, health and sickness, prosperity and poverty—all things, in fact, come to us not by chance but from his fatherly hand. p. 58
  • If we truly believe in providence, we will view success and prosperity not as products of good upbringing, good looks, or good intelligence but ultimately as the unmerited favor of a good God. p. 61
  • The work of Christ and the life of a Christian can be summed up in three words: prophet, priest, and king. p. 69
  • The Sonship of Jesus Christ, then, is different from ours in that we became children of God, whereas Jesus Christ has always been God’s Son. p. 71
  • The resurrection means the death of Jesus was enough—enough to atone for sin, enough to reconcile us to God, enough to present us holy in God’s presence.  Christ won; sin, death, and the Devil lost—that’s the good news of the empty tomb.  The resurrection means Christ proved Himself righteous to the Father, so that through faith we now can share in His righteousness. p. 93
  • Communion is for the weak, but it is not for the hypocrite. p. 145
  • “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loosen earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Matthew 16:19 p. 151
  • The Word of God must be our standard of goodness, not nice thoughts, not pleasant smiles, nor the usefulness of charity.  We can be thankful for kindness instead of meanness, but true goodness goes deeper in to the heart and higher up to God than mere mortalism. p. 161
  • We cannot capitulate to the contemporary ethos that laments short attention spans and linear thinking.  We must resist the urge to get with the spirit fo the age and feed our people with more than a steady diet of video clips and sermonettes. p. 169
  • If we truly love our neighbors as ourselves, we will do whatever we can to protect his name. p. 205
  • Get down deep into the Scripture, God’s holy Word, and your prayers will start to fly.  We pray best when we ask God for everything He already wants to give us. p. 213
  • An “already and not yet” understanding of the kingdom gives us hope for improvement in the world, tempered by a realism that acknowledges the continuing presence of sin, enmity, and rebellion. p. 225

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