The Utter Relief of Holiness by John Eldredge
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I have been a longtime fan of John Eldredge. I would almost venture to say he is my favorite author. At the very least he is the author of one of my favorite books. So when I heard he had written The Utter Relief of Holiness, I couldn’t wait to read it.
Like his other books, Elderdge takes the topic and presents it in a clear but challenging way with great application. However, as excited as I was about this book, it didn’t quite live up to my expectations. I wanted to LOVE this book. As it was, I only liked it. I believe his previous writing had me spoiled and set my expectations a little too high. However, if you are a new to Eldredge’s books, you will likely really enjoy this book.
I did jot down several quotes in my reading notebook. My favorite is this:
“People who knew themselves to be anything but holy found the holiness of Jesus winsome, open-armed, and utterly compelling. Is this how you have understood holiness? It changes everything when you do.” (page 38)
Having grown up in a church that took a theological idea to extremes that we could be sinless in this life, I almost wondered if Eldredge took the idea of being able to achieve holiness to extremes. Can we really be so holy that we “simply don’t struggle with whatever it is that haunts you, it’s not an issue. That’s the utter relief of holiness. That’s what happens with the life of Jesus invades yours.” (page 43) It’s a great thought. It would be wonderful if I truly believed it, but I sit back and I wonder. The Apostle Paul had a thorn in his flesh. Although we aren’t told what is was. Perhaps it was a physical malady, but what if it was a sin he struggled with? We don’t know and that leaves me pondering if holiness the way that Elderedge depicts is really something we can achieve this side of heaven.
That said, I also think it’s a great book on the topic. There is a lot of Scripture contained in it, so it would make a great book from which to do a personal Bible study. Because of the amount of Scripture, it would be ideal to use in a Bible study or Sunday School class.
Do I recommend this book? Yes. Will it be one of the favorite books I’ve read this year? Most likely. Did it live up to what I’ve thought of his previous books? No. Worth the read? Absolutely.
You can learn more about the book and connect with the author at these links:
Watch the book trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tdVkECNOEp0
Purchase at Amazon:
The Utter Relief of Holiness: How God's Goodness Frees Us from Everything that Plagues Us
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