Thursday, 28 March 2013

The Hole in our Holiness

I read this book right after I finished Jesus + Nothing = Everything (J+N=E). This wasn't intentional, but as it turns out these book complement each other. While J+N=E was all about resting in the security of your salvation in Jesus and how you don't have to do anything to please God, The Hole in our Holiness is all about the struggle/effort in Christian living. Someone in the front cover said that this book is our generations J. C. Ryle's Holiness, where as I think J. C. Ryle's Holiness is our generations J. C. Ryle's Holiness (just saying).

DeYoung holds to faith along by grace along in Jesus alone, but the main emphasis of this book is on the fruit in Christians lives that comes out as a result of their salvation (which that they didn't work for).

DeYoung sees that sometimes we lean too much on the indicative of the cross and not on the imperatives in the Bible (see as an example J+N=E). He even goes far to say that "Not only is holiness the goal of your redemption, it is necessary for your redemption" citing Matthew 7:21,26; 1 Cor 6:9-10; Gal 5:19-21; 1 John 2; James 2; Hebrews 2 to name a few. DeYoung gives a good overview of what Holiness isn't and what it is, all backed up by verses. In fact throughout there book there are lots of lists of just bible verses making DeYoung's case.

What I found interesting was that DeYoung said that Christians could actually be holy. Normally we deem holiness as something we strive for, but we won't achieve it in this life, but DeYoung points out that Zechariah and Elizabeth are deemed holy (or righteous) before God in Luke 1:6 and so was Job in Job 1:8. Of cause in this context holiness doesn't mean they are 100% perfect, but it does have to mean something about their character and their obedience before God. This is what a Christian's life should be marked by.

DeYoung is appealing to lazy Christians who don't see any sort of growth in their life to not to sit back on our loins because the Christian life does take effort. This points to a wider issue of people resting on some decision they made years ago and not if they presently live like a disciple with Jesus as their ruler. There is even a whole (timely) chapter on sexual immortality, not because that is the biggest issue in the Bible (or for Christian living) but it is a big issue for DeYoung's audience (he is a pastor of a church near Michigan State University).

Because this book is quite opposite to J+N=E and both authors are bloggers, there was a neat exchange between the two on kinda this issue. Doug Wilson also put forward his two cents about the disagreement.

When comparing J+N=E with this book I think it is helpful to remember the settings and issues each author is dealing with. Tullian was writing to the people who are trying to prove themselves by their own efforts and not resting in the completed work of Jesus. For this some might argue he is an antinomian. DeYoung is wring to Christians who don't do anything and so he point out the need to see fruit in one's life as a demonstration of their salvation. For this some might argue he is a legalist. The trick is to hold to both, while not being an antinomian or a legalist. I think you should read both books back to back.

Other books by Kevin DeYoung I have reviewed:
Just Do Something - A good book on finding God's will for your life and just getting on doing things.
Why We're Not Emergent - Kevin co-authored this book on the emerging church
Why we Love the Church - Another book Kevin co-authored as kinda  sequel to the above book


Post a Comment