It is a rare thing these days to find a Millennial writer who enjoys delving into deep doctrines such as sanctification, propitiation, redemption, or the holiness of God. Yet that is exactly what Tyler Braun does in his new book Why Holiness Matters: We’ve Lost our Way–But We Can Find it Again just released from Moody Publishers.
Tyler Braun unites a writer’s talent, a theologian’s careful intellect, and a pastoral heart to tackle the issue of God’s holiness and what it means for our daily lives. He argues that now, more than ever, we need to focus on who God is and why that matters:
American spirituality has ceased to be traditionally religious. Instead, American spirituality is focused on a traditional understanding of what being religious means—church attendance, reading of sacred texts, exclusive claims to God, etc. We are a spiritual society but not a decidedly Christian society, despite an overwhelming majority of people claiming a Christian faith. (9)
Tackling the Tough Stuff
If you’re looking for flowery spirituality prose that reminds of unicorns and rainbows, then Tyler’s book is not for you. But if you desire to be reawakened to ancient truths viewed from a fresh perspective, then Why Holiness Matters may be just the thing.
Tyler tackles potentially disturbing issues that we all tend to avoid – like the wrath of God — with a sober yet winsome style, weaving personal stories of Minnesota Twins baseball games with his father, late night head-clearing runs, and even some history with his visit to Crown Point.
He also shares authentically of his own failings as a PK (preacher’s kid for the uninitiated), his callousness to sin in his own life, and the regrets and pain his lack of holiness caused to him and those closest to him.
But he does not leave us in the land of hopeless failures. Far from it. Instead, while the first part of the book addresses the gap between God and us, the second half dwells on the affect of holiness on community and the creative urges within us. Not surprising if, after all, the cross was all about community:
On the cross we see God’s holiness and love working together to bring us into community with God through God. On the cross we see in the most powerful way God’s wrath against sin and God’s love for the sinner. (68)
Tyler draws on his deep experiences within the church community to make his case for living authentically before the face of God:
With hindsight always providing a 20/20 perspective on the past, I know now that much of my stumbling down the road of life was due to a lack of intentional relationships of love and accountability. I became good at the game of pretending at church, and it was slowly eating away at my soul. (96)
Tyler Braun’s book had me rethinking questions like:
- How seriously do I take sin in my own life?
- Is my lack of concern for holiness impacting my relationships?
- And what about my kids? What am I teaching them about God through my own life?
Holiness begins in us by following Jesus and allowing Him to apprehend us through His love, not for the sake of wealth, strength, or power, but for the sake of becoming a reflection (the imago Dei) of who He is. (158)
Why Holiness Matters is worth the relatively quick read if for no other reason than Tyler’s revival of one of my favorite Nathaniel Hawthorne stories “Ernst and the Great Stone Face.” If you don’t know it, yet another reason to pick up the book today. But prepare to be honest with yourself and authentically answer the question of Why Holiness Matters.
Somehow I don’t think Tyler – or God for that matter — would have it any other way.
UPDATE: Buy it by 7 PM Friday and get some cool perks here.