“The Hole in our Holiness: Filling the gap between Gospel passion and pursuit of Godliness” is a book written by Kevin DeYoung. Kevin is the senior pastor at Christ Covenant Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, an assistant professor at RTS and an author.
One might expect a book about holiness to be heavy on finger pointing towards certain levels that one has not attained especially on matters of sexual purity. Kevin however states, “I’ve written this book to make you hopeful about holiness, not make you hang your head.” He strives to help us think about holiness with the Gospel mindset saying that this hole “is simply that we don’t really care about holiness”.
Often our thoughts about holiness are cultivated by how we were first oriented to view holiness e.g. no alcohol, no drugs, no sex, no movies, no dancing, and no gambling. This led me to want to understand what then holiness is and as the book suggests, how that hole comes about. He has outlined that holiness is not merely keeping rules, generational imitation, generic spirituality, not even finding your true self. It is not the way of the world but the real deal looks like the renewal of God’s image in us, a life marked by virtue instead of vice, a clean conscience, obedience to God’s commands and finally becoming more like Christ.
Kevin says that there is no absolute measure to say that Christians are neglecting holiness. He is not the first to think that there is something missing in the contemporary church scene. He borrowed from J.I. Packer, Rediscovering Holiness to shed some light in responding to why he thinks there is a hole in our holiness. Packer says “that we do not hear about holiness in preaching and books, we do not insist upon holiness in our leaders and that we do not touch the need for personal holiness in our evangelism.” These observations sound right I would say. Kevin added saying “it is because a concern for holiness is not obvious in our lives, the pursuit of it does not occupy a place in our hearts. Also the fear that a passion for holiness would be termed by others as moralistic, legalistic, prudish, narrow minded, old fashioned, holier than thou and many believers give up on it saying that it is unachievable. And finally that among the conservative Christians there is the mistake that if we are truly gospel centered we won’t talk about rules or imperatives or moral exertion and this becomes the origin of the hole in our holiness.”
In his book he has with the authority of Scripture, pointed us to the need for holiness simply because God is a holy God and He has called us to be holy. He points out that with holiness, as good deeds for all believers, should flow from a good grasp of the good news of our Savior, for it is the gospel that encourages godliness in all spheres of our lives (sexuality, abiding and obeying). This book, simply written and with only nine short chapters, has helped me to understand that the law served a useful purpose in convincing men of their need for a Savior and that good works as holiness should always be rooted in the good news of Christ’s death and resurrection. He emphasizes that holiness should be urged with diligence not only upon the unbelieving and impenitent but also to true believers, who are truly regenerated and justified by faith not to condemn them but to correct and to promote Christ-likeness.
I highly recommend this book to every Christian who feels that holiness matters and they would want to engage more and to those who would want to have a better understanding of holiness. DeYoung says, “Expecting perfection from ourselves or others is not what holiness is about.”
This book review has been written by Everlyne Wambui. Everlyne serves as the Apprenticeship Member Care Officer.