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4 Stars Out Of 5
Book Review: Holy, Holy, Holy
February 12, 2016
In "Holy, Holy, Holy," notable preachers Thabiti Anyabwile, Alistair Begg, D.A. Carson, Sinclair Ferguson, W. Robert Godfrey, Steven Lawson, R.C. Sproul, R.C. Sproul Jr., and Derek Thomas provide unique perspectives on understanding the divine attribute of God's holiness. Of all God's attributes, the crowning one is the holiness of God which sets Him as infinitely greater than anything we as human creatures could ever become. From cover to cover, the Bible conveys to us God's holiness and His requirements for those who belong to Him to walk in His holy ways. This short 100 page book is a compilation of the lectures delivered at a Ligonier Ministries conference on the topic of holiness and the call to be holy as our God is holy. Each chapter is filled with pithy advice and carry a strong pastoral tone that warms the reader's heart. It would be a very long review if I were to summarize the wealth of wisdom that can be found. Perhaps it would be best to highlight a couple of quotes that I found helpful as a sample of the weighty content found in this book:
"The minute we think that anybody owes us grace, a bell should go off in our heads to alert us that we are no longer thinking about grace, because grace, by definition, is something we don't deserve. It is something we cannot possibly deserve. We have no merit before God, only demerit. If God should ever, ever treat us justly outside of Christ, we would perish. Our feet would surely slip." (pp. 87)
"Since no man can see God and live, the only way we can do this (for that matter, the only way the seraphim can ever do this) is by indirect means - by seeing the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. We cannot look into the eyes of the Father and hold our gaze, as though we had access to His eternal being. Rather, we must, as it were, stand on the circumference and watch the eyes of the God-man Jesus Christ as He gazes on His heavenly Father." (pp. 20)
Although the approach of each writer is different, every one of them highlights holiness as being something that we should strive to attain (albeit imperfectly in this life). The book's aim is to strike the heart of the reader to take seriously the fact that holiness is critical to the Christian life.
I would highly recommend this book for Christians in all walks of life. Reflecting on North American churches today, it seems that we would much rather teach superficial self-satisfaction through following a set of morals and good behaviour rather than the power that comes from a life of holiness. Moreover, holiness has become more like a lofty ideal that we need not worry about in this life. Thus, this book was a helpful reminder to me that holiness is not an option for the follower of Christ.
In compliance with Federal Trade Commission guidelines, I received a review copy from Reformation Trust in exchange for a book review.
Holy, Holy, Holy: Proclaiming The Perfections Of God is a wonderful book by team of top authors. It's readable and understandable yet very rich and informative.
In chapter one R.C. Sproul gives a brief theology proper. That is, he surveys the sttributes of God. It's a very theologically rich and apologeticlly strong chapter that makes a great opening chapter to the book.
In chapter two Sinclair B. Ferguson discusses the Holiness of the Father primarily through the prayer of Jesus in John 17 and discussing the relationship within the Godhead. I do feel this chapter lacked a certainly flow when reading. It wasn't really written sloppy at all though. It just feels a little scattered.
In chapter three Steven J. Lawson focuses on the Holiness of Jesus Christ, primarily in the incarnation. He gives a clear definition of holiness and explains how Christ meets it and shows his opposition to dead religion.
In chapter four Alistair Begg focuses on and explains the Person and work of The Holy Spirit. He focuses primarily, but not exclusively, on the events leading up to Pentecost and briefly after.
In chapter five Thabiti Anyabwile discusses sin against a Holy God. He focuses primarily on the events of Numbers 25. He also talks on the wrath of God against sin and sinners (a message we don't hear near often enough today).
In chapter six D.A. Carson considers the nature and position of the Church in this present age. Primarily discussing what it means to be a royal priesthood and holy nation.
In chapter seven W. Robert Godfrey begins with a discussion of the Holiness of God as revealed in the vision of Isaiah 6 and how it sheds light on the sin of Uzziah. From therehe goes on to present various truths of the Cross from both Isaiah 53 and the New Testament.
In chapter eight Derek W. H. Thomas gives the most applicable portion of the book. He expounds the primary method of sanctification (the mind) and from there discussesour three greatest motivations toward sanctification (God's Holiness, The Gospel and The Relationship).
In chapter nine R.C. Sproul Jr. writes primarily about what he calls "family worship" and tells how his family practices this. This is a very well written and very practical chapter sure to benefit any family but it feels a bit out of place in this book. It just doesn't fit the general theme and flow of the rest of the book. Still good stuff in this chapter though.
In chapter ten R.C. Sproul closes out this outstanding work with a discussion on the wrath and grace of God. He talks about the wrath of God against the sins of Uzza and Nadab and Abihu. Then he closes by showing the distinction between justice and grace.
Overall, this was an excellent book. Certainly one of the best book on the topic of the Holiness of God available.
Thank you to Reformation Trust Publishing who provided for free the book that was the topic of this review.