A very practical, pastoral book on how to deal with a particular mindset that has taken root in our culture. I appreciated his honesty and refusal to give simply, easy answers. The chapter on how we worry too much and are too anxious about our children was excellent. His chapter on technology was also well-balanced reminding us of the pros and cons of it. Every Christian could benefit from this book.
Holiness has gotten a bad rap lately. I am not sure why. But those who strive for holiness are often accused of legalism or pride. The Hole in Our Holiness is the good remedy for this faulty thinking. Pastor DeYoung does a great job showing how important holiness is, how it can be achieve, how it flows out of justification, and how it means striving to obey God’s commandments.
What impressed me most about the book was the tone. Instead of getting done and feeling like I had been flogged, DeYoung put before me the promises of Scripture and the power of the Holy Spirit to give me a clearer desire to be holy. I did not sense that he was trying to make me feel guilty. Instead I left with a greater faith in Christ my Savior, a greater desire to obey all of his word, and a greater trust in the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit.
You never got the impression that holiness is earning your salvation. Nor did you get the impression that you could achieve perfection. But you also did not get the impression that because we are all in Christ, therefore everyone is really equal in holiness. Some people are more holy than others and we should all strive to be holy.
The book is pastoral in tone and clear. It is filled with verses from Scripture. I appreciated the emphasis on the Scriptural commands to holy living. Too often these verses are explained away. It is balanced. It may not be as theologically dense as some would like, but I think this has to do with the nature of the book and the intended audience. It is a wonderful remedy to much of “grace based” Christian life stuff that goes around. Like DeYoung I believe in grace. But grace leads to holiness and obedience, not to worldliness or spiritual apathy.
A very good entry level read on the Heidelberg Catechism. Would be good to use for study in a high school class, with the average church member who does not have a lot of theological background, or a read aloud and discussion for family devotions. DeYoung has good understanding of basic reformed theology. He also has a great concern that his people grow in holiness. Both the theology and the piety are held in balance throughout the book. He keeps the chapters short and to the point, which makes it easily accessible. He does not dive in deep, but what he gives you is solid and gets you headed in the right direction.
An excellent tonic to the “wait for God to tell me what to do” Christian life. DeYoung is clear, biblical, and funny. I had some minor disagreements here and there. But the main point of the book is one that every Christian needs to hear. God is not going to give you specific direction for every facet of your life. He is not going to tell you exactly who to marry or what job to take or what store to shop at. He gives us directions on how to be more holy, but not on what to do on Friday night. DeYoung especially speaks to all the passive males in the Christian world who stand around waiting for something to happen to them. I would encourage every man under 50 to read the book and every pastor or elder. It will free you from the paralysis of indecision.
I want to bring to your attention two blog series that are worth following and a couple of regular posts that I enjoyed.
First, Kevin DeYoung belongs to the RCA, a denomination that is close to compromising on the homosexuality issue. His church is presenting an overture on sodomy. He is writing a series of posts this week on why and how sodomy must be fought in his denomination. Here is the first, second, and third posts in the series. Today he posted the overture that he will make to his classis (think presbytery). These posts take a lot of courage. It is easy for those of us in denominations that reject sodomy to think what he is doing is easy. But it isn’t. DeYoung has been in this denomination his whole life. His family, going back a couple of generations, is from this denomination. His reputation has been forged preaching in RCA churches. No doubt, he will upset a lot of people for attacking this lie.
Second, Keith Mathison is one of my favorite writers and was very influential as I left Dispensational theology and came to covenant theology. He is doing a series of posts on eschatology over at Ligonier’s blog. Here are the posts that are currently up:
The Promise to Abraham
Blessings and Curses
The Davidic Covenant
Here is a great post by Al Mohler on the challenges that will face the next generation of ministers. I would encourage you to note where he believes pastors will be tempted to compromise, places like evolution, sexuality, and the exclusivity of the Gospel. Pray that the elders at Christ Church would not compromise on these particular issues.
Finally, here is wonderful praise from a man whose father sang with vigor in worship. As I read, a couple of things struck me. First, fathers should remember that their approach to worship has a deep impact on their children. Second, the songs from worship should not be limited to worship. They should stretch out and fill the corners of our lives. Third, he speaks of hymns, but how much more should we sing the psalms with vigor. They are the very word of God.