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.
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