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This is the third of a four-part series of reviews looking at Kevin DeYoung's The Hole in Our Holiness. See parts one and two.

Kevin DeYoung's The Hole in Our Holiness begins with an underlying premise that many Christians have ignored, misunderstood, or abandoned: God's call for us to become holy. DeYoung, a writer for The Gospel Coalition and a pastor of a theologically Reformed church, has a great sense of where Christians have missed the mark when it comes to following Jesus. It is wonderful to see Christian leaders of various theological perspectives calling us toward holiness, not just those associated with the holiness tradition pioneered by John Wesley's brand of Methodism.

This "hole" in our holiness is the result of many factors, according to DeYoung. Holiness is often avoided because keeping a list of things to abstain from falls short of stirring us toward Christ. We can't ignore our desire to push the boundaries of what God would allow for us to do. Our focus on Christian liberty often has us wandering down ungodly paths. Also, we don't want to come across as too judgmental, so we avoid labeling certain behaviors as ungodly. And I haven't even mentioned how scared we are of words such as "duty" or "effort" for Christ. They seem to go against what we believe about the gospel. Christians are thus living with a gap between their love for the gospel and their pursuit of godliness.

Somewhere along the line we've started to believe that being saved by grace negates God's desire for us to pursue holiness. Certainly, we need the reminder that it is God who is at work within us, and his work is not done (Phil. 1:6). Those of us who God has justified ...

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November 2012

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