Religion Saves By Mark Driscoll
There is perhaps no greater lightning rod among today’s evangelical pastors and preachers than Mark Driscoll. He is the founding pastor of the mega-sized Mars Hill Church of Seattle, Washington. He is controversial mostly due to his straight forward statements on most any topic. If Driscoll has addressed a topic, there is little doubt what he thinks about it. This straight forward talk continues in Religion Saves + Nine other Misconceptions. The inspiration for the book is an interesting story in itself.
While preaching through 1 Corinthians some time ago, I was struck by the fact that the letter was a series of answers to various questions that the people in the Corinthian church had asked. My guess was that there were more question than Paul answered, but that somehow those he did answer were deemed to be of the greatest interest and importance. I thought it might be interesting to do something similar by preaching a series answering the big questions and issues in our own day, which could subsequently be addressed in an even more thorough fashion as a book.
They set up a place on the Mars Hill website for individuals to ask questions. Anything could be asked. Others could comment. Anyone could vote on questions. The nine questions that got the most votes would become the topic of a sermon (and a chapter in the book). In other words, Driscoll took time to answer the questions his congregation was actually asking.
The list of topics that people wanted answers for is quite the eclectic list. It deals with the topics of:
- Birth control
- Sexual sin
- Faith and works
- The emerging church
- The regulative principle
I will not take the time to comment on the author’s response to all the topics. Suffice it to say that I agree with his conclusions in many of these areas. I will briefly address some areas where I do not completely agree.
Humor: Driscoll has often been criticized by other evangelicals for his use of humor and crass talk in his sermons and books. While I see the point of his critics, I must say that his use of humor does not bother me. Actually, I often find him quite funny. He is not unbiblical in his use of humor. He preaches sermons that are in excess of one hour, so it helps break the monotony of listening to one individual for that length of time. And most important, it is effective in his context.
Predestination: Mark Driscoll is a strong Calvinist in his theology. He holds to a deterministic view of predestination. I do not. This is the chapter I most disagree with. I will not belabor the point. I will say that he treated those who disagree with him, but hold to orthodox Christianity, much more gracefully than many of his well known Calvinist brothers. I appreciate that. While I generally agree with his chapters on Grace and Faith and Works, his strong brand of Calvinist theology does present itself again.
I found the book interesting and fun to read. I enjoyed the format, being structured around those nine questions. Driscoll is engaging and you will probably even find yourself with the occasional chuckle. I recommend this book with limited reservations regarding the author’s doctrinal positions. Religion Saves is published by Crossway Books under the Re:Lit Books imprint. It is available at booksellers everywhere and all online booksellers.