The Forgotten Command: Be Holy

By William MacDonald. 240 pages. John Ritchie Ltd., 40 Beansburn, Kilmarnock, KA3 1RH, Scotland. ISBN 09 463513 76.

It is ever a pleasure to review a book by William MacDonald, especially one so practical in its teaching as this. The skilled physician is able to present and accurate diagnosis of a patient’s problem before prescribing the necessary cure. In similar fashion the author of this book defines things that are likely to undermine the spiritual health and development of professing Christians and then goes on to suggest a method of revitalization that is guaranteed to work.

The low spiritual state of many Christians today is all too apparent. Generally disinterested, stunted in spiritual growth, and ineffective in service, they play little part in the activities of their local church. If ever they once ran well, now their initial vigour has ebbed away to the point where there is little evidence of life. It is a crisis of faith that requires urgent attention on their part and on the part of others who feel a responsibility towards them, for it calls into question whether such people were ever truly converted!

In thirty-one arresting chapters of his book the author identifies many of the problems that surround the child of God today – they provide explanations for the many instances of failure in life and testimony. Rejecting the use of vague generalizations, in forthright terms he stresses the implicit danger and devastation they are likely to cause. His message is anything but uncertain in its sound, and if this is his diagnosis of the current spiritual malaise affecting many Christians, then its cure can be summed up in a phrase: ‘be holy’. It is the command of God chosen for the title of this book. Much use is made in the text of anecdotes and apt quotations, and this helps to make the book highly readable for people of all ages. Indeed, its message holds relevance for all who would live godly in Christ Jesus, and strive to live a life of holiness in a world that is unbelievably corrupt and corrupting!