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5 Stars Out Of 5
September 11, 2009
Let me tell you Mark doesnt hold back in this book! wow. I was surprised at how he jumped right in with his candid remarks (ie. in the opening about people giving him flack for having five kids!)I like what Mark does to dispel the lies here. He brings Gods Word, and historical facts to challenge misconstrued beliefs and I was surprised and actually a little relieved when I read the first chapter on Birth Control. This is such a hot topic and he digs deep into what Gods Word says not what the expert Christians say. That meant a lot to me, as I know Ive felt demeaned and hurt by a lot of Christian views (never mind non-Christian views) on this subject. I love that he says Children are a blessing, not a command. Were we commanded to have children, then those who never marry, like Jesus, and those who are barren would be in sin for not obeying Gods command.I wont even attempt to do the chapter justice, but let me just say he gives a very large look at this topic and I was surprised and encouraged and shocked even by some of his findings (in a good way.)I appreciate Marks humor through out. For a few moments of crying, the next moment Im laughing out loud and Mr. C is giving me strange looks and than I end up reading to him.. I love it. He really brings the heaviness of the subjects to a real level of understanding, and uses humor to make us realize our mistakes.I will admit this book is not for the faint of heart and that some people will not appreciate his humor or his exploration of certain topics. They will be upset by his findings (though they are biblical) basically he doesnt swirl around the subject but is straight foward very in-you-face style that I quite honestly love. He is not ashamed of the gospel and doesnt hesitate to make fun of himself for his short comings, while doing so in love.Ill be digging into more of Marks books in the future!
Being previously unfamiliar with Driscolls preaching and writings, I was surprised by his brash, take no prisoners approach to rightly dividing the word of God. A couple of chapters in, I was quite frankly horrified by Driscolls strange brand of reverse-legalism wherein he mocks those who dress and act differently than he does. Get your flak-suit out. If you homeschool, dress funny (according to Driscoll this encompasses everything from emo-style duds to denim jumpers), and a wide variety of other practices that Driscoll deems unrighteous (whether ungodly or legalistic in his eyes), hell nail you for it whether justified or not. Thankfully the first two chapters passed by quickly. In Question 8: Humor, Driscoll defends his penchant for mockery while pointing out that humor is a tool that should be carefully utilized only to point out ungodliness. Seems to me that Driscoll slings his brand of humor even at honest, good-natured folks seeking to life in accordance with the call God has placed on their lives, and not only foolish priests worshipping false gods who fail to answer their prayers.Thankfully, the remaining seven chapters are less acrimonious, and deal with the questions of predestination, grace, sexual sin, faith and works, dating, the emergent church, and the regulative principle. The well referenced chapters on predestination and grace (approach from a strong reformed stance) are well worth the price of admission alone. Despite my concerns with the first two chapters, Driscoll generally shows himself to be a gifted divider of the word of God, pulling out what is clearly shown by scripture, and tearing down a few false religious and libertine beliefs along the way. My first formal exposure to writing from a reformed missional preacher begs the question can I find a similar blending of orthodox doctrine and cultural relevance somewhere nearby? I see why Driscolls church is growing.
Religion Saves: And Nine Other Misconceptions is by no means just another summary of current hot topics the church is wrestling with. Instead, Driscoll's book thoroughly and thoughtfully tackles nine subjects that his Seattle based congregation put forth for his review. Are these the nine most important topics that Christians should be addressing today? Perhaps no, but one could argue that neither were the topics that the Apostle Paul addressed in the aptly compared First Letter to the Corinthians.Of these nine subjects that Driscoll surveys some will likely continue to be tossed around in theological debate long into the church's future (Predestination - Question 7, Grace - Question 6, Faith and Works - Question 4). Other chapters address how we should go about forming biblically informed convictions and putting faith into practice (Birth Control - Question 9, Sexual Sin - Question 5, Dating - Question 3). Finally, Driscoll approaches subjects particularly relevant to the challenges of doing ministry today in our postmodern culture (Humor - Question 8, The Emerging Church - Question 2, The Regulative Principle - Question 1).Driscoll's writing style stays extremely conversational throughout the book without sacrificing contemplative depth. Almost every page is footnoted with references to Scripture as well as other helpful works on the subject. Some readers might be a bit put off by the author's bluntness in his presentation but Driscoll needs not apologize. Matters such as these require both thoughtful reflection and heartfelt conviction for their presentation, both of which shine through from cover to cover.While Religion Saves might be a bit more 'theological' then other popular works readers may used to, I found this work to be very approachable for most any pew (or stackable chair) sitter in our churches today.
Religion Saves by Mark Driscoll is a compilation of sermons Driscoll gave at his Mars Hill church in response to questions submitted by his congregation online. From 893 questions, he narrowed it down to the most popular and occasionally most controversial such as birth control and worship styles. I appreciated Driscoll's almost irreverent writing style that doesn't allow readers to take these issues too seriously, especially when they are the ones that divide believers. However, he doesn't dismiss these questions lightly, using just the right amount of humor without becoming flippant. During the first half of this book, I felt like I had finally found someone who was able to put into words my beliefs, and on some issues that I wasn't quite sure where to stand, Driscoll combined Scripture and reason into positions that make sense. When the American church has lost its authority in its quest to be culturally friendly, Driscoll calls them on it and doesn't pull his punches! When I reached the chapter on predestination/free will/elect, I was stopped short by Driscoll's forthright Calvinism, although he did present the Arminian side fairly. I've always considered myself an Arminian , but after reading his careful arguments, I was forced to do some research of my own, and while I can't call myself a Calvinist yet, I'm definitely on that path. I think ultimately, that's the best way to use this book. Read each chapter with an open mind, then read the Scriptures and talk to people you trust who are strong in their faith before forming an opinion. If widely read, this book could just save Christianity from itself.