An Excellent Primer in Reformed Theology
I read this book before handing it off to my teenager, as she coolly looked at me with a bit of suspicion:
Me: “Here, I think you’d like this.”
Me: “It will help explain why we changed churches and the main points of what we believe.”
Her: “huh…” [walking away]
Granted, it’s not a ringing endorsement, and I imagine that many adult recommendations to teens run along a similar conversational path. We’ve had these conversations before, so there was no surprise. I have to confess that the cover art drew me in as being “cool.” However, I’ve realized that I cannot make the same judgement of “cool” as my teenager.
Rebels Rescued is not out to make a case, it is out to explain. I enjoyed the straight-forward style of a very clear declaration, rather than from the standpoint presenting a persuasive conversion-style delivery. Rather, it assumes the student has either grown up in the tradition, or is in a family that has moved into the Reformed Faith, as in our situation. The book provides very clear metaphors and illustrations of the basic tenants of reformed theology. I liked it from the start, as it clearly shows WHAT we believe and WHY we believe it.
The outline of Rebels Rescued is very simple; it presents the 5 Solas of the Reformation alongside the “5 Points” of Reformed Theology, linking the two from a historical perspective. The chapter outline follows this simple 10-point presentation.
With clear metaphors are also honest subjects. Simple items, such as dealing with feelings – of not “feeling” close to God, and presenting the scriptures of assurance and promise. Despite feelings, God keeps us (Perseverance of the Saints). There is good advice and real issues in the life of a teen that parents may have forgotten. This book does well in keeping the world of teen social issues and peer pressure in mind.
Interestingly, Rebels also presents Calvinism as something that may be frowned upon or sneered at by one’s classmates. In some ways, I think it may spend too much attention on this facet of the perception of Calvinism. While it may be true to an extent, it may be limited to certain circles.
In our own experience, my teen attends a Christian school with many denominations represented. Nothing of the sort has been brought up or dealt with. While it is good to prepare a teen for this type of outside pressure, it may spend a bit too much time on an “us versus them” view. Unfortunately, in today’s evangelical church, I do not believe that the majority of people in the church haven’t a clue of this debate, or even know the difference between Calvinist and Arminian theologies; much less where they might even sit along the spectrum.
That issue aside, I would not hesitate a moment to recommend this for parents and their teens! Parents, read it through for a great refreshing presentation. Give it to your teen and then attempt to sit down and have a discussion…