Grace Defined and Defended – Kevin Deyoung

Book Review
  • Approximate Time Commitment: 8 minutes

The book “Grace Defined and Defended”s purpose is to explain the Calvinist-Arminian debate which dates to the early 1600s. This book review was written by Hank Griffith of South Suburban Evangelical Free Church in Apple Valley, Minnesota.

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Resource Description

Kevin DeYoung 

Wheaton: Crossway, 2019 


Kevin DeYoung is a pastor, seminary professor, Gospel Coalition board member, and the author of a number of books, including The Good News We Almost Forgot, Crazy Busy, The Biggest Story, and others. Though he’s a theologian with a Ph.D., his writing style is clear, and he even finds a way to put a little humor into what he writes. J 

However, at the outset of this summary I must warn you that this book is not for everyone. Its purpose is to explain the Calvinist-Arminian debate which dates to the early 1600s. It began when two professors at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands, Arminius and Gomarus, debated the subject of predestination. At the heart of the debate was whether predestination is based solely on the will of God (Calvinism) or on foreseen knowledge of belief (Arminianism.) What we now call “The Five Points of Calvinism” came out of the five issues which Arminius set forth at this time. 

The “400 year old confession” in the title of DeYoung’s book is known as the Canons of Dort, or Canons of Dordrecht, formally titled The Decision of the Synod of Dort on the Five Main Points of Doctrine in Dispute in the Dutch city of Dordrecht in 1618–19.  

The best summary I’ve read of DeYoung’s 130 page book is on its dust cover: 

“GRACE’’ – a doctrine central to the gospel – ought to be clearly defined so it can be celebrated, relished, and consistently defended. In this book, Kevin DeYoung leads us back to the Canons of Dort, a seventeenth century document originally written to precisely and faithfully define this precious doctrine.  

The Canons of Dort stand as a faithful witness to the precise nature of God’s supernatural, sovereign, redeeming, resurrecting grace – when so many people settle for vague generalities that water down the truth. 

In three concise sections – covering history, theology, and practical application – DeYoung explores what led to the Canons and why they were needed, the five important doctrines that they explain, and Dort’s place in the Christian faith today. 



Appendix 4 – Scripture Proofs in the Canon of Dort. 

Election and Reprobation 

Deut. 10:14-15; Matt. 11:21, 25-26; 13:11; 24:24; Luke 10:20; John 3:16; 6:39; 17:6; Acts 13:48; 15:18; Rom. 3:19; 3:23; 6:23; 8:30, 33; 9:11-13, 18; 10:14-15; 11:6, 33-36; Eph. 1:4-6, 11; 2:3-9; Phil. 1:29; 2 Tim. 1:9; 1 John 4:9,10 

Christ’s Death and Human Redemption through it 

Is. 53:10; John 10:15, 27; 15:12-13; Rom. 3:24-25; 8:33-34; Gal. 2:20; Heb. 7:22; 9:15, 17 

Human Corruption 

Gen. 6:5; 8:21; Ps. 51:17; 147:19-20; Jer. 17:9; Matt. 5:6, 13; Acts 14:6; 16:6-7; Rom. 5:12, 16; 6:23; Eph. 2:1, 3, 5; 4:24. 

Conversion to God 

Is. 44:3; Jer. 31:18, 33; Ez. 36:26; Rom. 5:5; 9:16; 1 Cor. 4:7; Eph. 1:19; Phil. 2:13; 2 Thess. 1:11; 2 Peter 1:3. 

Perseverance of the Saints 

Matt. 13:20ff; Luke 8:13ff; 22:32; John 10:28-29; 17:11, 15; Rom. 5:8-9; 8:16-17, 32-35, 39; 11:7; 1 Cor. 1:8; 10:13; 1 Pet. 1:23; 1 John 3:2-3, 9, 24; 5:16-17, 18. 


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