I was super excited to get a copy of “Growing in Holiness” by the late R.C. Sproul and saved it as my flight read to the recent G3Conference in Atlanta. Not only was I expecting it to be the perfect appetizer to all the teaching on worship I was about to receive but I fully expected it to fill in the lonely airport hours like an old friend would. Yes, the subject of holiness is EXACTLY where my heart needed to be planted in preparation for that conference. But no, I never found that friendly, familiar voice within those pages. “Growing in Holiness” might well be taken from Sproul’s lectures on the same subject, and the information is well organized, easily digestible, and theologically sound, but it wasn’t Sproul doing the telling. If you, like me, were impacted for life by “The Holiness of God” do not expect the same kind of force from “Growing in Holiness.” It’s good, but it’s not the knock-you-off-your-feet-never-view-God-in-the-same-way-again-buy-a-copy-for-every-one-you-know kind of good that “The Holiness of God” was. Therefore, I was disappointed.
Interestingly, another book just came out by Sproul’s good friend, John MacArthur on holiness’ twin subject. “Sanctification” packs a powerful 64 page punch. The tone is very pastoral, recognizing first “The Good Shepherd’s” goal for His flock. This was the perfect place to start for me. For some reason, hearing the “why” of our sanctification made me desire that which Christ desires for me more than I ever had before. MacArthur then turns his attention to pastors, including the apostles own interactions with the the early church. Wo to pastors who don’t have the same goal for the flock as our Good Shepherd!
Because MacArthur’s book is so short and really lays the ground work for Sproul’s, I recommend reading “Sanctification” first, then fleshing out the practical details with “Growing in Holiness.” Together, you have a well-rounded read on a subject that is far too neglected by evangelicals today.