Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Guest reviewer: eight-year-old Michael S. Dickey reviews The World-Tilting Gospel

When one is in the stage of "selling" a book to a prospective publisher, one of the questions they ask is "What is this book's audience? Who would read it?" Prospective authors have to come up with intelligible answers.

In my submission of The World-Tilting Gospel to Kregel, back in January of 2010, I wrote that the book "speaks to Christians of all walks in life, from late teens [NB] and up. Pastors will use it, and give or recommend it to church officers and members. The format of headings and subheadings, plus the wealth of Bible-references, are designed for use in study-groups or discipleship classes for a wide age-range, as well as in individual reading." Now, of course, this reflected my intent and expectation. I didn't do a test-audience on it (as I later did do with God's Wisdom in Proverbs).

So when folks later read it, of course I was grateful and encouraged to have a brother like John MacArthur commend it, and it was delightful to have PhDs like Ligon Duncan and Jim Hamilton join in, as well as the rest. And while I watch for reviews, it has been terrifically encouraging for all sorts of folks (moms, dads, pastors, students, and so on) to report finding the book a blessing and a help.

But, friends and neighbors, brothers and sisters, you are about to read a review of TWTG that pasted a grin on my face that has not gone away, and won't for a good while. It was completely unexpected, and I frankly would not have guessed nor even hoped that the reach of the book would go this far.

It is from eight-year old Michael Dickey, the son of Mike Dickey who comments under the screen name VcdeChagn. He actually finished the book before his dad, and did a book report on it, which he wanted his dad to share with me. I have Mike's permission to share it with you — and I think you'll be glad of it.

Now young Michael is clearly, as his dad said, a "voracious reader," so I wouldn't necessarily recommend that Kregel do a campaign to offer the book to the single-digit set, and we parents shouldn't look too askance at our kids who might not be up to Michael's reading level. But he's a remarkable young gent, and it's my delight to share his review (book report) with you, as one of the very, very few guest-writers at this blog:

Transcribed (as-is):

by Michael S. Dickey
  1. Dan Philips wrote the book as a sort of every day helper. Dan gave four points in the introduction that divides true Christians from the bad Christians. Reference for parable is Matthew 13:3-9. Take the book anywhere you can evangelize, even your church. Don't forget to hang on tight.
  2. Dan writes in Chapter 1 about who comes first God or us. Dan gives three beautiful examples of false believers. Dan also gives us an illustration to give in to Christ. He tells us what we need: a Whole-Bible view. Read more to find more.
  3. Dan deals with two towering truths in chapters 7+8. These two truths are how God deals with our bad record and our bad nature. In chapter 7 he gives a fiery example of repentance. Eventually you will reach the point where you are a world tilter unless you are not preordained. So our conclusion is that means pass the towering truths and you are a buster. (Margin: special effects by me)
  4. Dan surprised us with a few more "bullets" in the after word. He gives us a "Mystery passage" which sums up the whole book. That Mystery passage is I Corinthians 15:1-11 if you wish to look it up. his conclusion = there are two types of Christians. Read it to find even more.
  5. I think he gave us a good book worth reading. Thank you Dan for a good book. I recommend this book widely. Take it where ever you go. I think Dan is a good writer.

That's it. My day's made. Thanks Mike, and thanks, Michael. I think you are a good writer, too.


Fred Butler said...

Man. I'm impressed an 8 year old would read it. I mean, it doesn't have hobbits, or witches, or lions mentioned once it that I can recall.

I feel like I am holding back on my kids.

Robert said...

Wow...great review. My son, too, loves to read and tears through books quicker than anybody I know, but he certainly has much work to do when it comes to writing. I might show this to him after he reads WTG as an example of how to write a good book review.

I must say that I am quite impressed that your audience is so wide...says a lot for the quality of the writing and the thought you put into it.

DJP said...

Fred, I take it you're reflecting on your own reading at his age. If so, I was thinking the same. At that age, I'm pretty sure I wasn't reading anything that wasn't full of colorful pictures and couldn't be purchased at the drug store for 10-25 cents.

Persis said...

Great job, Michael!

Kids can take in much more than we would think. And ditto to Robert's comment about the quality of your writing, Dan.

DJP said...

That's kind of you, Persis; I know you're reading through it. Of course, my aim was to throw a wide net — but this exceeds expectations.

I think it more reflects well on the reader (Michael) and his parents, than on the book.

JackW said...

Everyone loves a mystery.

DJP said...

Perhaps, but I doubt I'd've read it unless the dialogue were in white balloons, said by colorful, drawn characters.

Tom said...

a) "Towering truths"? From an 8-year old? Wow.

b) Mr. Mike Dickey, praise God, is doing something right by his son.

c) When I was 8, I was either watching He-Man or had my head in a comic book. I didn't even start reading because I "wanted to" until I (shocking, I know) became a Christian.

d) "Towering truths"... still in my head.


Chris H said...


I'm with you. Even if he just copied the term, I'm impressed that he knew how to use it correctly.

Also, did you notice the semicolon? The dork in me is pumped to see someone using one correctly, even if I'm sad that I am so excited do to its rarity.

Stefan Ewing said...

That's a wonderful book review! Beyond just reading the book and writing about it (impressive enough), I'm frankly staggered the precocious reviewer's ability to summarize and articulate what he's read, and structure it into a concise and coherent review.

These are writing skills that even many adults have trouble with, and ones which I certainly didn't learn until I went back to college in my 20s.

The penmanship, however, and mention of "special effects" in the margin (the underlining???) kind of give the game away, but are still endearing.

And I would hope that while the young man is appreciated for the talent he is, that he isn't held as a standard against whom to measure others in his peer group!

Mike Westfall said...

"Don't forget to hang on tight."

Not only to your Biblical world view, but apparently also to your copy of the book!

Unknown said...

I wish my handwriting was that legible.

DJP said...

LOL; ditto!

Merrilee Stevenson said...

I salute the 8-year-old young man and his remarkable father. Very well done. And now I will hang my head in shame and go read. Sheesh. If he can do it, what's my excuse? Perhaps I should ground myself from reading and commenting on blogs until I finish.

Merrilee Stevenson said...

I'm also curious what other books the young man has read. Maybe his father can submit a list. I'd love to see it!

DJP said...

Well, I know one was R. L. Dabney's life of Stonewall Jackson.

When young Michael was seven.


I imagine I was light reading, after that.

Jeri Tanner said...

Love it! Kids get right down to it, don't they?

VcdeChagn said...

Soli Deo Gloria (for both my parenting and his precociousness).

Thanks to Dan for posting it, and thanks for all the wonderful comments.

He's read Narnia (I'm not ready to give him LOTR yet) several times. And a ton of other books. He's read every YWAM book several times.

I was very tickled when I read it. I was afraid that it would be something he did quickly and without a lot of thought but I'm very thankful and blessed that he put so much work into it.

Now I need to show all those pastors who don't think children should be in a service because they don't "get it."

VcdeChagn said...

Oh, and the special effects are the tilting of the word "tilting"

I had to ask what he meant, too :)

Herding Grasshoppers said...

Kudos to the Dickey family! Yes, to God be the glory, but also you're doing something very right.

Wendy said...

I love his use of adjectives!

"beautiful examples"..."fiery example"..."towering truths".

Thanks to you (and his dad) for sharing!!

homefront said...

Kudos to Michael's mom as well. I suspect they home school? Would love to know what technique they use for writing. Thanks for sharing!!

VcdeChagn said...


Yes, we home school, and thanks for congratulating Mom as well. Praise God, she does a great job as well.

We use Rod and Staff for Reading and English. Michael is in the fifth grade as far as books go, and I think they start diagramming sentences in third or fourth grade so he's pretty aware of sentence structure.

Mike Westfall said...

Rod & Staff is good stuff, at least for English and reading. We use it too. Except for right now, because my kids are studying very hard for the Bible Bee. They wanna go to Nashville in November...