Monday, September 10, 2012

Book Review - The Hole in Our Holiness

In The Hole in Our Holiness, author Kevin DeYoung opens with a problem he has both experienced in his own life and noted in the Christian culture around us; there is a gap between our passion for the gospel and our practice of holiness. DeYoung diagnoses this discrepancy and thereby presents the reader with the direction of his book. DeYoung wants to inform the reader of the foundations of holiness as they are taught in the Bible and then encourage application in light of those truths. Pastor Kevin writes, and preaches for that matter, with thoughtful theological acumen and poignant pastoral insight and these distinguishing characteristics are conveyed in The Hole in Our Holiness, making it a very helpful book.

The Foundations of Holiness

DeYoung begins his book by sketching out some helpful foundations about holiness. He provides a theological definition of holiness as well as a Biblical account of this virtue. His discussion of what holiness is and what it is not makes for profitable distinctions. He proceeds to give a helpful defense of both the need and benefits of a healthy view of holiness.

The author finds a good balance to this sometimes burdensome topic by encouraging the reader with good reasons for pursuing holiness as well as offering the refreshing idea that godliness is both possible and very pleasing to God. Chapter Six is a transitional chapter which moves the reader from the more theoretical and theological early chapters to the remaining ones which are more practical. In this bridging section DeYoung explains what he believes holiness should look like and how it should be pursued: sanctification, or growth is holiness, is accomplished through Spirit-powered, Gospel-driven, Faith-fueled effort. And this effort begins with and is accomplished by our union with Christ.

The Fighting for Holiness

The final three chapters deliver some practically helpful thoughts on fighting the good fight of becoming Christ-like in our holiness. DeYoung deals with the pervasive and perpetually problematic sins that are sexual in nature. Without sounding ‘preachy’ or coming across as naive, this pastor of University Reformed Church in Lansing, Michigan addresses the issues surrounding sexual immorality. He is realistic but not relativistic as he works hard to show that he understands-personally-the difficulties but recognizes the Bible is clear on the issues.

The book nears conclusion with some advice on actions we can take to promote holiness through the time-tested and traditional disciplines of the Christian faith. Encouragement is presented in the last chapter with a compelling admonishment to gauge and monitor our holiness, to be quick to sincerely repent, and understand this is a process that must continue until our time on earth is up.

With conciseness and clarity, DeYoung explains and expounds what holiness is with a solid stream of Biblical evidence. His shepherding skills are evident as he applies these truths in a way that is accessible and applicable. This is an important book on the sometimes confusing concepts associated with Christian obedience or growth in holiness and is a helpful contribution to the Christian’s lifelong sanctification. I recommend it.

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