I was surprised to learn on Monday that Christianity Today was running four reviews of my new book The Hole in Our Holiness. I consider it a sign of respect that they think the book deserving of this kind of analysis. I'm grateful too for the invitation to round out this week of reviews with a response of my own. Though I'm hesitant to respond—because rejoinders often appear (or are!) defensive and thin-skinned—I'll venture a few thoughts on each review.
Erik Raymond has written the sort of review every author enjoys. He understands the book, appreciates the book, and recommends the book. I'm particularly grateful that Raymond sees, and agrees with, my emphasis on grace-based effort and my use of various confessions. Since both of these points were criticized by others in this series, it's good to see not everyone considered these elements to be mistaken. I'm thankful for Raymond's kind, encouraging review.
Mark Labberton and Tyler Braun hit on different themes, but both have written the same sort of review. They like a lot about the book, but would have said more or less in some areas. Since the book was short, 146 under-sized pages, there is certainly more that could have been said about a number of important issues. Labberton wishes I would have said more about what lies beneath the biblical call to holiness (and our dismissal of it) and the public implications of a holy life. It's hard to know how to respond to this criticism except to say I addressed some of both, but could have done more. I could have talked more about consumerism and social justice and (especially) the kingdom, as Labberton suggests. I also could have talked more about abortion, statism, and religious liberty. ...1
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