If you do not know Christine Hoover, she is a Church planter's wife who loves the Lord and loves the people of God. By the title you can tell she has a message of grace to offer. While reading the book I was overwhelmed with this sense of "Yes, I so need to depend on Christ and His work, and the Holy Spirit." This book is a breath of fresh air in our world where measuring up, mistakenly, seems to be such an important concept.
I was so happy to be able to conduct an interview (via e-mail) with her, and am even happier to share it with you.
I truly hope that her answers will bless you and encourage you to pick up the book and read it. I have no doubt it will bless you too.
Q. What challenges and attitudes were you trying to address in writing From Good to Grace?
I’ve found that many Christian women are deeply entangled in the bondage of “not good enough”. They live their lives solely based upon what others are saying and the loud voices of expectation in their heads. These voices correspond closely with cultural messages of “do more, try harder” and “be the change you want to see”. They’ve infiltrated our churches and have confused the simplicity and beauty of the gospel of Jesus. I wrote this book for those women, the ones who don’t even know they are living by the goodness gospel but feel the effects of it: the comparison, competition, division, people-pleasing, isolation, self-condemnation, and guilt. They are the ones who felt like I did: unloved by God and certain that they’ll never be enough or do enough for Him.
Q. How were the preliminary responses to your book? Has the feedback been what you expected? and in what way?
I think I’ve been surprised at just how many women are resonating with the spiritual perfectionism I describe in the book. I am a Type-A, driven person by nature, so I suppose I assumed this book would resonate with that audience. I’m finding spiritual perfectionism doesn’t affect just one personality type, but all women. I think that’s because the goodness gospel is an innate belief: if I work hard, I will earn rewards or love.
Q. How do you think your book will be received by those who think that some of us are making too much of grace versus law, and that we minimize the need for striving for Godliness? How do you think grace ad godliness are related?
In writing the book, I didn’t want to use the typical Christian phrases. I wanted to describe God’s grace as best I could with fresh word pictures and phrases. However, because I haven’t used the words “righteousness” or “holiness” directly, I think some will assume I’m cheapening grace and not calling for righteousness. The exact opposite is true. I believe that righteousness is an imputed gift (2 Corinthians 5:21) and a fruit (Romans 6:22) of presenting ourselves to God as “slaves of righteousness”. We aren’t presenting ourselves as slaves to righteousness, we’re presenting ourselves to God as slaves to righteousness. That’s a big difference, because it makes a distinction on who is in charge of our growth, change, and holiness. I can’t create godliness, but I can present myself to God in submission and surrender so that He can grow it in me. When we receive God’s grace, it compels a response of joyful obedience.
Q. I really appreciated your emphasize and centrality of the gospel throughout the book, do you think that much of our issues and hang ups over godliness and grace has to do with our misunderstanding of the Gospel?
Yes, I do. The gospel is not innate to us. It’s an announcement of good news that we must hear and proclaim to ourselves over and over again. We must let it consistently sink down deeper into every crevice of life. We get it wrong so often because what I term the goodness gospel--spiritual growth through self-effort--is innate. We tend to innately believe that external behaviors can change internal realities, so self-effort has an appearance of wisdom to us. We must, as Paul says in Galatians 5:1, “stand firm in the liberty for which Christ has set us free”.
So there’s this fight to live in the grace Christ has won for us, but I think in our churches we often focus on what the gospel says about salvation, but we aren’t always talking about how the gospel applies to our sanctification. How do we grow? How does the Holy Spirit work in our daily lives? What does it mean to walk by faith? Without understanding these concepts, we naturally revert back to the goodness gospel.
Q. I was really encouraged by your emphasis on our postures as believers. If you had to summarize that posture in one sentence what would it be?
Receive God’s love and it will compel you to respond in obedience (which is based on 2 Corinthians 5:14).
Get your copy at Amazon today!
Christine Hoover (@christinehoover) is an author, a recovering perfectionist, the wife of a pastor, and a mom of three boys. She writes online at www.GraceCoversMe.com and has contributed to Desiring God, The Gospel Coalition, Christianity Today, Send Network, and iBelieve. Her newest book, FromGood to Grace: Letting Go of the Goodness Gospel, offers women biblical freedom from trying to “be good enough”.