Friday Five Interview: Kevin DeYoung
Are young evangelicals taking seriously the pursuit of holiness? One author and pastor doesn't think so.

For today's entry in the Friday Five interview series, we catch up with Kevin DeYoung. He is the senior pastor at University Reformed Church in East Lansing, Michigan, near Michigan State University. His blog, DeYoung, Restless, and Reformed, is one of the most popular in the Christian blogosphere. Kevin is a council member of The Gospel Coalition and the author of several books, including Why We Love the Church, Just Do Something, and his latest, The Hole in Our Holiness.

Today we talk to Kevin about the future of the Young, Restless, Reformed (YRR) movement, why pastors shy away from preaching on holiness, and how he manages to root for Chicago sports teams in the heart of Michigan.

Five years ago, Collin Hansen profiled the YRR movement. Where is that movement today?

It's hard to say what has become or will become of something as amorphous as the YRR movement. There are certainly weaknesses: friendships get frayed and coalitions get fractured. And of course there are the sins that plague any human movement—pride, envy, impatience, judgmentalism, cowardice. But on the whole I think the movement has matured. I'm encouraged by a growing interest in personal holiness and world missions. I'm also encouraged, and this may sound strange, that YRR is not "all the rage" like it was several years ago. People are investing in their specific groups and denominations.

Most importantly, people are investing in their local churches. That's the key. Our little movement, at its best, celebrates and supports the confluence of many like-minded networks, congregations, and pastors. I believe God often uses movements like ours, but Christ did not promise anything to movements. His promises are for the church (Matt. 16:18). That's what really matters.

You're part of a mainline denomination (Reformed Church in America) that has endured some of the same cultural battles over homosexuality and other issues. How would you counsel pastors like yourself (with core evangelical convictions) who pastor in liberal-leaning denominations?

I don't know how to counsel pastors in mainline denominations because I'm not even sure what counsel to give myself. I've been a part of the Reformed Church in America my whole life. I was baptized in an RCA congregation, made profession of faith in the RCA, was ordained in the RCA, and have served two churches in the RCA. I'm thankful for all the good churches and godly men and women I've encountered in our little, historic denomination. And yet, the divisions in the denomination are massive: a popular and respected seminary professor just published a revisionist book on homosexuality, a classis in New Jersey has an ordained and installed lesbian minister, the denomination may remove the conscience clauses that have protected complementarians like me and my church. We are coming to a crossroads.

June 07, 2013

Displaying 1–5 of 5 comments


June 10, 2013  11:57pm

I would have much preferred to see you apologize to the sex abuse victims for not taking their complaints seriously and instead being part of the 'wall of silence' you and others are putting up around your BFF C.J. Mahaney. Instead of treating child sex abuse victims as 'the least of these' it appears from your comments and actions that rather it is pastors in powerful positions of authority that need protection. You have no credibility with me and many others because of this. It is disheartening to see Out Of Ur even providing a platform for you under the current circumstances.

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June 10, 2013  11:05am

Being able to avoid both antinomianism and legalism is one of the great balancing acts of the Christian faith. So many people will accuse you of one or the other, depending on which side of the spectrum they stand in relation to you. Thanks, Kevin, for your wide-angle view of this issue.

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June 10, 2013  6:40am

Kevin, it's important that you and Don Carson and Justin Taylor apologize to the 11 alleged victims of child sexual abuse in the Sovereign Grace Ministries cover up lawsuit for your May 23 statement. Nearly 1/3 of the defendants in the lawsuit have already been convicted either criminally or proceeded in the juvenile system. Rather than siding with your friend C.J. Mahaney, the senior pastor for years at one of the churches, you should have shown concern to the children. Penn State and the Catholic Church teach us that cover ups happen and leaders turn a blind eye to the pedophiles in their midst in order to shield their institutions. Jesus said a lot about the lure of money and image, and those who sacrifice children to get it are in deep trouble with the Lord.

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Jazmin Clements

June 07, 2013  4:48pm

I wonder when Mr. De Young is going apologize for standing up for C.J. Mahaney and forgetting about the sex abuse victims at SGM. He needs to step up and stop backing up the good ol boys club. Completely shameful.

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Britt McCrimmon

June 07, 2013  10:04am

Nice interview. I especially like the 4th "p". That very may well be the hardest. I think the level of our walk really comes to bear fruit when our patience are tested.

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