Into the Book


Engaging God's World - Cornelius Plantinga Jr.

As my university days get older, the question of balancing God and studies weighs even heavier on my mind, especially as I prepare to go to Japan for my studies. Thankfully, God prompted a Church worker to lend me this book.

Billed as a “primer for students”, Engaging God’s World is a very concise introduction to the theology of Longing and Hope, Creation, The Fall, Redemption and the Vocation in the Kingdom of God. Although Mr Cornelius writes from a very Calvinistic perspective, he doesn’t mention things like unconditional election or TULIP, with which I have theological doubts. Instead, he speaks from a much broader Protestant perspective.

In my opinion, the most useful part of the book is the first half of the 5th chapter: The Vocation in the Kingdom of God. He speaks very convincingly about how every vocation, even studying, is a way to glorify God, encouraging students to use even what they think as “ordinary” things as a means to glorify God.

This book is easy to read and understand. I feel that it’s very useful for students, especially those in the US. I want to share this passage, which I found to be very encouraging:

"Let’s call a person who accepts Jesus’ commission a good citizen of the kingdom of God, and let’s call a person who accepts this commission with enthusiasm a prime citizen of the kingdom. A good citizen likes the kingdom of God just fine, but a prime citizen passionately yearns for the kingdom. A prime citizen has been redeemed far down in her spirit, way downtown in her heart, so that she deeply loves God and the things of God. She relishes God’s Word. She rejoices in God her Saviour. She finds that the things of faith – repentance, forgiveness, hope in God – seem sweet to her. Her pulse quickens at the prospect of blessedness such as “no eye has seen, nor ear has heard, nor the human heart conceived” (1 Cor. 2:9). In her best moods, she longs not just for happiness, but for joy; not just for joy, but for God; no just for God, but also for the kingdom of God. Because of her enthusiasm for the kingdom, she doesn’t merely endorse justice in the world; she hungers and works for it. She doesn’t merely reject cruelty; she hates and fights it. She wants God to make things right in the world, and she wants to enrol in God’s project as if it were her own. She “strives first for the kingdom” in order to act on her passion." (page 108)
Eustacia Tan joined Into the Book in May of 2011. She has always loved reading, but particularly loves fiction, apologetics, and theology. She has a love for God, and hopes to someday go to the Japanese people as a missionary.


  1. Hmmm... this looks like an excellent book. I'll have to check it out - thanks a lot for the review. (And actually, the fact that the author is coming from a Calvinistic - aka Reformed - perspective is a plus for me. :)

  2. Oh, really? Cool, I hope you enjoy the book. It's only that I have theological doubts about High Calvinism, in particular Unconditional Election and the other components of TULIP.

  3. Very cool. Thank you for the review, Eustacia


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