Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A Hole In Our Holiness: A Review

The Hole in Our Holiness: Filling the Gap between Gospel Passion and the Pursuit of GodlinessThe Hole in Our Holiness: Filling the Gap between Gospel Passion and the Pursuit of Godliness by Kevin DeYoung
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Do you ever wonder that if God desires us to be holy, what this looks like? Or what the difference is between progressive sanctification and definitive sanctification? Or does an emphasis on holiness lead to pietism, legalism, or fundamentalism? Kevin DeYoung covers these topics and more in his new book, The Hole In Our Holiness.

Pastor DeYoung makes an important point when he states that we must confirm that holiness is possible. And if it is possible, and not optional, then how do we do it? He has a helpful distinction here in speaking of salvation and works as the "root" and the "fruit"; that in Christ every believer has "positional" (definitive) holiness that can never change, and from this place of new identity every Christian is commanded to grow in the "process" (progressive) of holiness. He writes, "My fear is that...we focus on what Christ saved us from but not what He saved us to."

Some practical advice he has is that "the simplest way to judge gray areas like movies, television, and music is to ask one simple question: can I thank God for this?" While I appreciate this suggestion I don't think it is as clear as a few defined questions can be. For instance I think it would be better to ask: 1) Is sin glorified? i.e. made to look cool or desirable, and 2) does this inflame your sinful tendencies or vulnerabilities? His statement that "worldliness is whatever makes sin look normal and righteousness look strange" is much appreciated in this context.

DeYoung's book is pastoral in approach and grounded in historic, confessional Reformed teaching. It will stand solidly next to Sproul's Holiness of God and Bridges's The Pursuit of Holiness as an excellent work in the business of godliness.