Monday, April 1, 2013

Book Review: Licensed to Kill

Licensed to Kill: A Field Manual for Mortifying Sin. By Brian G. Hedges. Adelphi, Maryland: Cruciform Press. pp. 114. 2011. ($9.99 Paperback | $5.99 Kindle)

Five out of Five Stars
Any fan of James Bond (books or film) knows that the British secret agent carries a license to kill. Although his methods and morals are frequently out of sync with God’s word, Bond’s devotion to country and lethal efficiency are impressive. If only we could be as effective in our fight against sin. In Licensed to Kill, Brian G. Hedges tells his readers that they too have a license to kill in as brutal and efficient manner as possible. A license to kill sin, that is.

Now before you write off the book as a macho-man’s attempt at infusing pop culture into the Bible, I should point out that this book is inspired by Puritan reformer John Owen’s works on mortifying (or putting to death) our sin. He doesn’t even mention James Bond. In fact, he says in his acknowledgement, “I have been selective with quotes, but the substance of Owen’s thought, the structure of his arguments, and even some of his phrases run through this book like rebar through concrete.”

I for one am grateful to Hedges for this book on two accounts. First, it is a great guidebook for dealing with sin in our lives. How we think about sin and how we act in regards to sin have to proceed from the word of God, and Hedges does a first-rate job of it. I think of my own struggles now and my struggles early in my Christian walk and I wish this book had been available to me in my teenage years. Second, I am grateful because Hedges has helped bridge the thought of Owen with our world today. Too many of the “classics” turn off modern-day readers because of archaic expressions and language. Licensed to Kill gives readers access to a theologian many would otherwise not have ever interacted with.

Throughout the book Hedges holds up the Bible as our font of wisdom and knowledge for dealing with sin. He says, “When we meditate [on Scripture], we’re not simply pondering propositions. We are setting our minds on God himself in his glories, attributes, works, and ways.” God’s word and prayer are the foundational tools we have at our disposal for waging war against the sin in our lives, and this book is all about waging war on our sin. As the subtitle says, this book is “A Field Manual for Mortifying Sin.”

I highly recommend this book because it is Scriptural and practical. Hedges says, “Sin’s death is like a crucifixion: slow, gradual, painful, and eventually final.” Through each chapter of Licensed to Kill he takes his readers through the process of mortifying sin. This process is founded squarely on the provisions and promises set forth in the gospel, and his end-of-chapter application questions give these truths some feet to walk on. Highly recommended.

I received this book from Cruciform Press for the purpose of review.

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