Subscribe now

Grace Defined and Defended: What a 400-Year-Old Confession Teaches Us about Sin, Salvation, and the Sovereignty of God

By Kevin DeYoung
November 2019 | Review by John Harris
  • Publisher: Crossway Books
  • ISBN: 978-1-433-56439-0
  • Pages: 144
  • Price: £14.99
Buy this book »

This year sees the anniversary of the Synod of Dort which concluded its deliberations in May 1619. Much has been written about this, mainly from a Reformed perspective which rightly views its findings as worthy of being set alongside other Confessional statements.

Kevin DeYoung has produced a very accessible summary of Dort, helped along with some little illustrative parables. He only briefly describes the historical background which is perhaps something of a weakness, as the proceedings are best understood in the context of the political and economic pressures of the day. At times it was a fractious affair with one delegate challenging another to a duel! Nevertheless the book is a helpful addition to the literature and others will have dealt with the backcloth to Dort.

Each of the Remonstrants’ five points is set out and explained. This is necessary as on first reading they don’t seem so far away from orthodoxy. However an Appendix entitled ‘Rejection of Errors’ is reproduced, which serves to demonstrate what the Remonstrants actually meant. The author then gives us the counter arguments in plain terms.

He is particularly helpful in showing how we must rightly understand reprobation in his treatment of election, and is concerned to maintain that Dort does not in any way restrict the preaching of the free offer of the gospel. He also points out some of the pastoral aspects of the assembly’s conclusions. For example one of the Remonstrants’ accusations against Reformed theology was a harsh treatment of the case of godly parents whose children die in infancy. Dort deals with that very sympathetically.

The author’s aim, stated in the subtitle, is to show ‘what a 400-year-old confession teaches us about sin, salvation and the sovereignty of God’. In this it admirably succeeds.

It is to be commended.

John Harris

Thornhill

Book Reviews

Read our latest book reviews

Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
Ten Indictments Against the Modern Church
Paul Washer

The ‘Author’s Prayer’ sets the tone: ‘Let the truth go forward. Let men be changed’ (p.viii). The directness in the prayer is replicated in the exposition. The author is a voice crying to recall the church to its true mission.…

See all book reviews
Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
Pressing On, Finishing Well: Learning from Seven Biblical Characters
Michael Black

Not often do we find some of the most stimulating and challenging words of a book in the introduction. But here Michael Black’s personal conviction on the brevity of life and the vital necessity of living each day in the…

Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
Counting the Cost
David and Shirley Donovan

For 15 years these British missionaries have been at the heart of New Foundations, an evangelical medical mission. They had been serving the Lord giving spiritual and medical help to local communities in the Niger Delta, one of the world’s…

Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
My Sunflower Girl
Dyfan Williams

This is a heartfelt but reflective account of events leading to the death of Dyfan Williams’s 10-year-old daughter Megan, and the subsequent slow road to recovery. The reader is invited to walk with him and Caroline through their personal valley…