Different Living The Holy Life
Christianity Non Ficton
Hodder and Stoughton
10th of March 2016
Personal and collective holiness is often neglected within the teaching of the church today, and Simon has to be commended for his desire to tackle this thorny subject. He is not frightened to consider sensitive subjects like pornography as in chapter eight, and the propensity towards legalism and contemporary idols (chapters five and nine). His use of personal anecdotes and illustration is both refreshing and hard hitting. As I read this book it challenged me to reconsider what I prioritise and what I need to repent off, in a life all too prone to unreflective compromise. We also used the book in our ministry team for collective reflection. As a result we set ourselves personal and collective goals in acts of kindness and the pursuit of holiness.
I have reluctantly given it a 3 star rating. The book did a great job at exposing our problems but it failed to provide practical solutions as to how to address our sinfulness. For example, the chapter on pornography spent a disproportionate amount of time highlighting the destructive nature of the problem, and virtually no time with suggestions of how to overcome it. Since most people are aware that negative influences impair their walk with God, guilt is not a strong motivator for permanent change. Throughout the book he makes some very valid points, but rarely focuses on the positive and biblical motivators required to bring about personal transformation. It is good to point out our legalism but it is even better to show us how not to be.
Nevertheless, it is a good read and I would certainly recommend its purchase. I am sure you will be challenged by what he writes and since that is probably one of the reasons he wrote it, he has undoubtedly achieved that objective. When you consider the number of 'fluff and candy floss' books on the christian market, this one certainly does not fall into that category. It is a hard, but rewarding read.