Recommended. I don’t understand the gospel well enough. For all the study I do, I still take the gospel for granted like it’s a “get out of jail free” card to use at my own discretion. I fail to realize my utter sinfulness in so many areas of life; and yet, I nor any other Christian should be confortable with our degree of faith for one, because none of us can anticipate the amount of faith we’ll need for incoming trials. The honest father in Mark 9:24 responded to Jesus saying, “I do believe; help my unbelief” after his son had just been healed, and even the disciples asked the Lord in Luke 17:5, “Increase our faith!” If they so desired for their faith to be increased, how much more should we?
Rick Holland, the new senior pastor of Mission Road Bible Church and former executive pastor of Grace Community Church presents his sermon series-turned-book, Uneclipsing the Son. He writes to Christians who are disillusioned or stagnant in their relationship with Christ. Using the overarching illustration of a solar eclipse as blocking our view of Christ he writes, “If you think about it, though, an eclipse is only strange to those who have stood in broad daylight…There is grave danger of mistaking the shadowland of the eclipsed Son of God for the broad daylight that the redeemed were redeemed to enjoy, thinking all along that this treadmill of Christian engagements, polite Christian conversations, and good Christian behavior is the abundant life Jesus came to earth to deliver and declare. It isn’t.” Holland is digging for more than behavior modification in the Christian life, this is a book that examines the depth of your faith rather than the mere outworking. This book is bound to challenge any believers evaluation of their own faith.
Talking about the gospel message, Holland writes, “We hear these words with such familiarity that we don’t realize the awesome weight of the statement they form…we take the gravity of it for granted.” To the unbeliever the gospel might be scandalous or offensive, but that’s not he focus of this book as Holland makes clear in the questions aimed at the Christian reader: “But what’s going on in your mind? What are you thinking? Do these words move you as they once did?”At the heart of this book, Holland expounds the gospel and the magnificence of Scripture, giving critical insight to the once-passionate Christian that allows us to regain our lost reverence for the Son. He writes, “We cannot for the life of us remember what’s so great about the gospel. We need someone faithful to stir us up again, to point us back to that first love. We need to be moved and to be reawakened.”
One of the most helpful aspects of this book was its ability to counsel the heart and identify the greatest obstacle in our spiritual lives: our own sin. Holland helps us see our own sin and pinpoints our idolatry that eclipses our view of Christ. It was encouraging to be warned about the every day battle that Christians face and the defenses we can build up against our human tendencies. It’s a necessary understanding and awareness that he brings up, and one that will really get your mind thinking about the different idols you have built up in your own heart.
I would recommend this book to stale believers or Christians on the brink of luke-warmness. Yes, you can probably track down Rick Holland’s sermons, but to have all of his words in one binding and to be able to see the progression of thought throughout the book is well worth the $10 it costs. I know this book will greatly impact many who have fallen into a spiritual funk and raise the defenses of others who are strong now but can feel the temptation of sinful habits creeping in.