I have found a “kindred spirit” in Karl Graustein. To see the beauty, privilege and blessing of growing up in the church yet also see the subtle and sometimes obvious dangers of being raised in the “community of the saints” is a strong balance that every pastor, youth worker, parent, adolescent and child needs to have. Karl Graustein sends a vital message to people of every generation to not take for granted the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ in giving us the church.
What strikes me about this work is that it is the first I know of its kind. Written to Christian students to remind them of the glorious privilege of being “fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household” (Eph. 2:19) and also point out many of the challenges of growing up in a place where salvation and the Lordship of Christ Jesus is taken so seriously. The fact that this book has been written from a very strong reformed perspective is an added blessing and a cause of rejoicing in my soul. What the Lord has led Karl Graustein to write the Lord has also led me to share in similar ways for several years. I am thrilled that Karl has put into print what so many, many students in reformed families need to hear (as well as parents, youth workers, teachers and pastors).
Graustein states the purpose of this book in the opening chapter: “This book is for individuals who have grown up in Christian homes who want to take their faith to the next level. It is for young adults who realize their responsibility to take a hold of their personal relationship with God. It is a book that describes the unique perspective and tendencies of church kids. It is filled with warnings as well as practical suggestions for growth in godliness.” The book is set up in three sections that first show some of the dangers in growing up in the church, such as having a very small view of our sins as well as a small view of our Redeemer. Also taking for granted all that Christ is for us and having a shallow appreciation for Him are also examined.
The second section stresses the solid importance of thinking biblically and continuing to think and learn from a biblical perspective. As Graustein says, “We’ll realize that thinking biblically is the first step toward living biblically.” The final section of the book is very proactive in showing how to properly respond to the truths of God’s Word and what we are to do as His “chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God.” (1 Peter 2:9) A strong emphasis is made on joyfully and passionately practicing the spiritual disciplines and living to please and honor Christ in our lives in response to His awesome grace and mercy powerfully shown in our lives.
I highly recommend this book for students as well as parents, teachers, pastors and youth workers. It is something that has needed to be in print for a long time. I thank the Lord that He has led Karl Graustein to write it.