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The Hole in Our Holiness: Filling the Gap between Gospel Passion and the Pursuit of Godliness Hardcover – August 31, 2012

4.6 out of 5 stars 229 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“This book is vintage DeYoung—ruthlessly biblical.”
John Piper, Founder, desiringGod.org; Chancellor, Bethlehem College and Seminary

“My heart resonated deeply when I first heard Kevin speak on this subject. His message is a wake-up call to God’s people—timely, prophetic, and desperately needed in our day. As a gifted theologian and thinker, Kevin tackles many of the biblical intricacies and nuances of true holiness. As a pastor, he evidences sincere compassion and concern for the condition of the flock. As a fellow pilgrim, he gets to the heart of ways of thinking and living that keep us from reflecting our holy God in this dark world. As a servant and lover of Christ, he holds out a vision of the beauty and power of personal holiness.”
Nancy Leigh DeMoss, author; radio host, Revive Our Hearts

“Holiness was once a central component of following Christ. But for many today, the Christian life is little more than a celebration of cheap grace and pseudo-liberty, with a high tolerance for sin. In this well-written and much-needed book, Kevin DeYoung thoughtfully points us to an unpopular yet strangely liberating truth—that God is holy and expects us to be holy. With no hint of legalism or drudgery, Kevin offers a balanced and engaging view of law and grace. Kevin DeYoung is one of my favorite writers, and this book demonstrates why. I repeatedly said 'Yes!’ as I turned these pages. I’m convinced that Christ-followers desperately need to read, discuss, and live out the timely, God-exalting message of The Hole in Our Holiness!
Randy Alcorn, Founder and Director, Eternal Perspective Ministries; author, If God Is Good and Heaven

“Grace is too amazing to save us from sin’s guilt only to leave us under its cruel tyranny. In this book, Kevin DeYoung reminds us that the gospel is the ground of our justification and sanctification. At the same time, he reminds us of the many exhortations in Scripture to pursue godliness as the fruit of our union with Christ in the power of the Spirit. The Hole in Our Holiness offers important reflections on a crucial topic in the ongoing conversation about the joys and struggles of the Christian life.”
Michael Horton, J. Gresham Machen Professor of Systematic Theology and Apologetics, Westminster Seminary California; author, Calvin on the Christian Life

“One might expect a book about holiness to be heavy on finger-pointing, leaning toward legalism, and embarrassingly out-of-touch. But The Hole in Our Holiness is none of those things. Instead, Kevin DeYoung gets specific about what Spirit-infused, gospel-driven effort toward holiness looks like. Going way past ‘try harder’ and ‘believe better,’ this book implants in readers not just a longing to be holy but real hope that it could happen.”
Nancy Guthrie, Bible Teacher; author, Seeing Jesus in the Old Testament Bible study series

“J. C. Ryle wrote his classic Holiness out of a concern that ‘practical holiness and entire consecration to God are not sufficiently attended to by modern Christians in this country.’ It is with the same prescient concern and pastoral insight that my friend Kevin DeYoung has written what I consider to be the modern equivalent, urging a new generation of Christians to obey God's command to ‘be holy, for I am holy.’ May The Hole in Our Holiness do for our time what Holiness did in a previous age: promote gospel-centered holiness in Christians and churches around the world.”
C. J. Mahaney, Senior Pastor, Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky

“I have loved being under Kevin's teaching during my college years, specifically on this matter of holiness. This is indispensable reading material for all who desire a life of piety. Though we are fallen people, Kevin points us to our potential for godliness and how our progress in this area is of the utmost importance. Get your highlighter ready!”
Kirk Cousins, former starting quarterback, Michigan State University; quarterback, Washington Redskins

“The strength of this book lies in its biblical understanding that all great renewal is founded upon knowing the goodness and holiness of God. We are commanded to be holy because he is holy, and only in Christ can we be trained accordingly: ‘For the grace of God has appeared bringing salvation to all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age’ (Titus 2:11). I pray that Kevin’s words would be read widely and that the church might be known as a people ‘zealous for good works’ upon seeing the Father’s holiness and Christ’s redeeming work.”
John M. Perkins, President, John M. Perkins Foundation for Reconciliation and Development

About the Author

Kevin DeYoung (MDiv, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary) is senior pastor at University Reformed Church in East Lansing, Michigan. He blogs at the Gospel Coalition and has authored or coauthored numerous well-known books such as Just Do Something and The Hole in Our Holiness, as well as the award-winning books Why We’re Not Emergent and Why We Love the Church (with Ted Kluck).


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Crossway; 1 edition (August 31, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1433533340
  • ISBN-13: 978-1433533341
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (229 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #394,171 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Dave Jenkins VINE VOICE on August 13, 2012
Format: Hardcover
In the past year or so there has been a significant discussion on the relationship between justification and sanctification in the Reformed blogosphere. One of the participants of that discussion and arguably one of the most articulate voices in evangelical Christianity is Pastor Kevin DeYoung who wrote blog posts in that conversation, and now has written a very helpful book titled The Hole in our Holiness Filling the Gap between Gospel Passion and the Pursuit of Godliness.

At the heart of DeYoung's book is the Gospel. He teaches that, "Any gospel which says only what you must do and never announces what Christ has done is no gospel at all" (11). DeYoung's concern is a valid one as much of the preaching many of my friends have grown up on was preaching that focused only on what they were supposed to do in their Christian life rather than on what Christ has done in His work on Cross and in the Resurrection.

One of the most neglected truths in Christianity and arguably one of the most important truths for every Christian to understand is definitive sanctification (our positional identity in Christ), and how it does not eliminate the need for continuing "progressive sanctification." DeYoung notes, "In Christ every believer has a once-for all positional holiness, and from this new identity every Christian is commanded to grow in the ongoing-for your whole life process of holiness" (32). David Peterson notes that "Believers are definitively consecrated to God in order to live dedicated and holy lives, to his glory." In other words, sanctified is what Christians are and what they must become.

Chapter six is one of the most helpful chapters in the book and will help believers to understand how the Gospel empowers them to live the Christian life.
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Format: Hardcover
Kevin DeYoung, a Michigan pastor, has established himself as a young traditionalist. Unlike many of his peers, who want to "emerge" or "re-vision" the church, DeYoung hangs on to tradition and orthodoxy in his vision of what church should be. Don't misunderstand: I mean that as a compliment, and DeYoung defends that position well.

In The Hole in Our Holiness: Filling the Gap Between Gospel Passion and the Pursuit of Godliness, DeYoung is once again looking backward, trying to recover something that seems to be lost on the church of today. "The hole in our holiness is that we don't really care much about it." Teaching about holiness is rare or watered down to the level of moralism or self-help. The church today, as rule, has failed "to take seriously one of the great aims of our redemption and one of the required evidences for eternal life--our holiness."

Some of the emphases of modern evangelicalism have detracted from a focus on holiness. I applaud the new social awareness evangelicals have shown in addressing poverty, abortion, creation care, human trafficking, and other concerns. But as DeYoung points out, "you will find few explicit commands" in scripture telling us to care for social needs, "but there are dozens and dozens of verses that enjoin us . . . to be holy as God is holy."

By the same token, modern evangelicals like to talk about friendship with Jesus, saying that Christianity is not about religion but relationship. I agree, and I think DeYoung does too, to a certain extent. But as he points out, "It sounds really spiritual to say God is interested in a relationship, not in rules. But it's not biblical. From top to bottom the Bible is full of commands.
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Format: Hardcover
I'm a little lost at how to review this. If these chapters were separate blog posts from Kevin's blog, DeYoung, Restless, and Reformed, then I would have probably linked to almost everyone of them in my Today in Blogworld feature. By themselves each one is tremendous. Kevin is a tremendous writer and it shows throughout this book. He has a way of making you laugh, punching you in the gut, applying the gospel, and then making you laugh again as you close the book up and go about living your life all the while having been profoundly changed throughout.

There is nothing in this book that leaves me shaking my head and saying, "whoa, this dude has gone off the deep end". The correctives that he mentions are needed and helpful. Personally, I appreciate him saying, "It's not wrong for a sermon to conclude with something we have to do." (54) And I further agree with him that those of us within the gospel-centered movement can without an equal emphasis on holiness end up "confused, wondering why sanctification isn't automatically flowing from a heartfelt commitment to gospel-drenched justification". (91)

So why am I confused in how to review this? Mainly because this is a book review and not a review of several separate blog posts put together. In my opinion the book is confused as to its audience and overall purpose.

I think had DeYoung decided he wanted to only write a book about the hole in the gospel-centered movement and our lack of emphasis and promotion of holiness then it'd have been better. Or even if he wanted to write a book simply on holiness and how it comes about. But I think he tried both and it didn't seem to fit together.
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