Life in the Wildby Dan Dewitt
Length: Approximately 5 hours. To read (127 pages)
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We live in a wild world surrounded by sin, insecurity, depression, doubt, and confusion. Life in the Wild journeys from the garden of Eden to the thick brush we find ourselves caught up in. Dan Dewitt expounds from Scripture the reality of how we wandered into the wild and proclaims the Savior who is coming to rescue us. We lead ourselves to the wild, but God has provided a way “out of the wild” (pg. 124).
Who should read this?
This book is saturated with the Gospel. Dewitt seeks to walk through Genesis 3 and along the way points to Jesus as the Redeemer of the Fall. Every Christian should read this book. If you find yourself wondering what is the purpose in this broken life, read this book. If you have doubts about your salvation and God’s plan, read this book. If you doubt God, read this book. The book is extremely readable and culturally engaging. A great resource for discipleship to walk through life as a sinner who is redeemed and living in a wild world.
This book is also one of those books to walk through with an unbeliever to have Gospel conversations. He displays his vast experience with conversing amidst our culture and thinking through the brokenness that is unavoidable. Dewitt does not assume an understanding upon the reader but challenges each reader to think deeply about this world and who we are.
Dan Dewitt is a natural writer whose words appeal to the mind. Life in the Wild is a project birthed out of a group of talks given on a secular college campus. The tone and aim is a recognition of our sinfulness, a God who redeems us from our fallen state, who guides us through this fallen state, and has promised to come for us to be with Him again.
The structure of the book is based upon Genesis 3. Each chapter is so faithful to God’s Word that you cannot help but meditate on God’s Word. A book aimed toward God’s Word is successful when you desire God’s Word while reading the book. Dan is completely successful in achieving the purpose in this book. As a matter of fact, in the middle of chapter 2 a psalm is being spoken about and the reader is instructed to “pause…” (pg. 42). The reader is instructed to stop reading the book and to read Scripture. You will be pointed to God’s Word, and even instructed to do it, throughout this book. The book deploys of conviction from the Holy Spirit, and Dan Dewitt, that you will want to stop just to read the actual passages from Scripture.
The book is greatly needed for the world we live in. As stated in the book we live in the wild and life just sometimes sucks (his words not mine, though I did underline it). We live in a culture where the worldview prevalent is a denial of God due to the existence of evil and suffering. Dewitt combats this worldview by painting an accurate view of God and His character. The presentation of the Gospel is sensitive to living in the wild and hopeful of being saved from the wild. Many cultural topics are discussed throughout the book including gender roles, sexuality, sin, relationship between God and man, and many more. This will be a helpful read to those who struggle and to those who are helping those struggling.
In discipleship, teaching a new or young believer how to live as a Christ-follower is important. As teachers and disciplers we are not equipping them for the work if they do not know how to survive. Life in the Wild will help understand how to lean on God and to lean on the hope found in Jesus’ return. This book will help point toward satisfaction and guidance amidst our own sinfulness and our fallen world. The beauty in the pages is Dewitt’s undertone of apologetics. Throughout the book you are learning to answer the questions concerning: Who is God? Why does suffering exist? What hope is there in this world? Readers will learn comfort and confidence for their journey in the wild.
The book argues for a biblical view of God and rightly views redemption of God’s people. A world which says there is no God – Genesis says God created all things. A culture that says God cannot exist because of suffering – Genesis says sin caused that suffering. A life that sucks – Genesis says Jesus is coming to make it all better again. Dewitt’s experience through being an apologetics teacher, faithful disciple, former Seminary professor, and fellow wanderer in the wild amplifies the message through well-thought apologetics. This book welcomes you to take a raw look at a life that has thought through the character of God and this world we live in. He draws illustrations ranging from those who have been faithful in the past to present day examples found in movies and books.
Creatively communicated and fun to read, this book will encourage you in your walk with Jesus. I found myself laughing out loud for a minute or two at one point and pages later reflecting in awe of what Jesus did for me, a sinner. This is a book you will want and you will want to put in other people’s hand also.
I already have an idea to use this book for discipleship. I cannot recommend this book to enough people because it is so encouraging in a world that seems to lack encouragement in the Christian walk. Dan Dewitt achieves his goal and this book is a true blessing to those who read it. I pondered on some of Genesis 3 and thought through some truths I had not thought of before. The book is a great compact reminder of what the Gospel is. We must continue to preach the Gospel to ourselves and to remind ourselves of what Jesus has done – this book helps achieve that reminder.
My favorite part of the book was the instruction to pause reading and to read God’s Word. Telling your reader to stop reading and read something else is not a common tactic among authors. However, Dewitt agrees that God’s Word is worth more of our time and would be of benefit if we just kept reading in our Bible. To his credit, I did read and meditate and then eagerly began reading Life in the Wild again.
Another strength of the book is his care in being a sinner and living in a fallen state. If we are found in Jesus we have been freed from our bondage of sin. However, we still live in a fallen state that needs to be focused on Jesus to grow. Sometimes books lean more toward the forgiveness side of the Gospel and do not mention much about holiness and judgment. Other times, books lean toward the harsh guilt trip of holiness with no concern about grace and forgiveness. Within these pages you will find a strong position on holiness and soothing words of grace and forgiveness. God desires obedience. God gives love.
There is not much I would critique about this book. I would have desired for a little more interaction with cultural pressures that we deal with. In chapter 4, the reader will find a great interaction with an opposing cultural worldview prevalent around us. This is his strong point and probably the chapter I enjoyed the most. He delicately, yet, unapologetically lays out the biblical foundation of gender roles and biblical sexuality. While I know this was not the aim of the book, I feel it was well placed and well handled in that chapter and could have been done in the rest.
The second critique, more of a desire, is the balance of Scripture. Each chapter starts with a passage from Genesis 3, while throughout the book Jesus is pointed to as the redeemer. While passages from the New Testament are used and spoken about, I think it would have been neat to start by talking about the passage from Genesis 3 and ending with a correlating passage from the New Testament directly showing the fulfillment by Jesus.
Life in the Wild has been one of my favorite books read recently. A well-written, Bible-saturated, cultural-relevant, and God-honoring book that should be ordered in bulk. Found within the covers are pages filled with encouragement, hope, rest, and for those who have not yet repented and believed, the message of salvation. This book will push you toward the pages of God’s Word and will give you pep in your step while journeying through this wild life.
“This fallen world, the wild, hasn’t changed much since Adam and Eve’s time. The headlines have basically been the same since Genesis 3. But one day the page will turn, the king will return, and history will be set right. One day goodness will be restored.” (pg. 17)
“Does this mean we can avoid living in the wild? No. The consequences of Genesis 3 will continue until the day Christ returns. But we can live well in the wild, and we can have confidence and hope, because we know that Jesus is leading us through it, and will keep us safe in him until we reach the other side.” (pg. 34)
“Jesus is a better big brother. In the face of these defiant religious leaders who think they are too good for the outsiders, Jesus shows that he has come to do what the big brother should have done. He has come to find us – the lowly, prodigals, rebels, delinquents, sinners. Us. He came to find us.” (pg. 41)
“God doesn’t just show us gender roles in isolation, like separate instruction manuals for men and women, but gives us a picture of the gender roles in relationship with one another.” (pg. 64)
“Sometimes the best we can do is merely look, but God is strong enough to use even weak faith. The key is not the strength of our faith but the power of God.” (pg. 121)