BOOK REVIEWS

Spirit-Filled Jesus – Mark Driscoll

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Mark Driscoll, Spirit-Filled Jesus (Lake Mary: Charisma Media), 242 pp.

Some writers have a unique ability to gather a crowd and speak to their needs. Mark Driscoll is such a writer. He has a solid understanding of Scripture. And he has a grasp of people and contemporary culture. As such, he is able to communicate in a way that is both challenging and comforting.

Driscoll’s latest book, Spirit-Filled Jesus invites readers to consider the Spirit-filled life of Jesus, which will enable them to live by his power. The author presents Christ in a way that is biblical and balanced. His Christological treatment is also consistent with creedal formulations, which are widely accepted. This treatment is a helpful introduction to new believers or students who are not versed in theology.

Driscoll is careful to make direct applications which aim directly at the heart of readers. He does not shy away from confronting sin but in doing so his approach is gracious and understanding.

One concern should be noted. First, while the book is solid as mentioned above, much of the work does not focus on the subject at hand, namely, the Spirit-filled Jesus. While the material is useful and biblically consistent, it appears off the beaten path at times. Such an approach is distracting and unhelpful.

In the final analysis, Spirit-Filled Jesus will prove helpful to Christians just getting started in the Christian race. It is a basic overview of applied Christology and Pneumatology. Seasoned believers, however, will be disappointed and may choose to look elsewhere.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review.

BOOK REVIEWS · Discipleship

WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? – Mark Driscoll (2013)

_225_350_Book.756.coverMark Driscoll has what is foreign to many other writers, namely, a virtually unlimited platform. Driscoll combines a free-flowing writing style with an informed biblical framework and an eye on culture. These qualities make him accessible to everyone from the student to the scholar.  Driscoll brings these qualities combined with a cutting edge wittiness to draw in readers from every stripe.

In his latest book, Who Do You Think You Are?,  Driscoll uncovers the true identity of every Christ-follower.  He makes it clear that many Christians have ignored or neglected their true identity in Christ.  The result is ominous, for “many who lose their individual identity idol simply choose another one, rather than turning to Jesus Christ.  Consequently, they repeat the entire painful process over and over in their lives.  Such people go from one addiction and compulsion to another, one religious commitment to another, and one relationship to another, continually seeking the answer to the question, ‘Who am I?'”  Calvin rightly identified that the human heart is an “idol factory” churning idols and worshiping lesser gods.  Driscoll merely alerts readers to the painful reality of idolatry that has taken root in the hearts of people.  The book, then, sets out to point readers to their true identity in Christ.

After an introductory chapter, the author unpacks fifteen theological realities; rock-solid biblical truths that mark every follower of Christ.  In this review, I am purposefully omitted the theological realities that concern our identity in Christ.  My hope is that readers will purchase the book and pour over the chapters, asking God to reveal himself afresh and remind them of who they are in Christ.  The net result will be a stronger walk and a fresh resolve to live in light of biblical truth.  Surely, the church and local communities will benefit from Christians who know and practice the truth of God’s Word; Christians who live out their identities which are rooted in Christ.

I have read several of Driscoll’s books over the years.  This new release is a decisive moment of depth, maturity, and pastoral wisdom.  While I have greatly enjoyed and benefitted from Mark’s other books, Who Do You Think You Are? will not only make a significant impact on the local church; it should silence the naysayers and perhaps build bridges with pastors who have been critical of Driscoll in the past.  You know who you are!

Thanks to Mark Driscoll for writing a book that will unleash a new army of Christ-followers who walk in the power of the Spirit and minister to people for the glory of God.

I received a complimentary book from the publisher and was not required to write a positive review.

4 stars

BOOK REVIEWS · Marriage

REAL MARRIAGE – Mark and Grace Driscoll (2012)

Real Marriage by Mark and Grace Driscoll hit the evangelical world by storm a few days ago.  Some, like the influential theologian, Wayne Grudem, are praising it and some are condemning it.  In my mind, the hype is a bit overplayed on both sides.

Real Marriage  is biblical in its scope, practical in its counsel, and contains a wealth of information that will serve to strengthen marriages.

The book is grounded in a transparent look at the Driscoll marriage.  They share candidly about their mistakes and failures.  And they humbly share their triumphs and some of the necessary ingredients that have contributed to what is now a healthy marriage.

One of the greatest strengths of Real Marriage is its bold promotion of complementarianism, the notion that men and women are created equal as image bearers in the eyes of God, yet maintain distinct roles.  The husband must love his wife as Christ loves the church and the wife must respect her husband.  Mark and Grace point to numerous examples from their own marriage that bolster the case for complementarianism.  They should be applauded for their clear biblical teaching on a controversial theme that draws angry fire from liberal critics.

Mark rightly admonishes men: “God wants His glory to shine through men.  God wants His kingdom to be made visible through them.  God wants them to be His sons.  God wants us to follow, by the power of the Holy Spirit, in the example of Jesus.”  Driscoll charges husbands to honor their wives in several significant ways: “physically, emotionally, verbally, financially, and technologically.”  He demonstrates the importance of understanding the covenant of marriage and includes several practical points of encouragement, especially for young husbands.

Grace further elaborates on the complementarian position that is advanced in the book: “Men and women were created with equal worth but different roles.  God created and called the man to lead and love his wife, and when he doesn’t do that in a holy way, he is sinning.  God created the woman to help and respect her husband, and when she doesn’t do that in a holy way, she is sinning.”  She helpfully overviews biblical respect/submission and provides numerous ways that wives can embrace the biblical model by respecting their husbands.

In a chapter entitled, “Taking Out the Trash,” the Driscolls spell out what repentance looks like in marriage.  Repentance is not “managing our sin, blame-shifting our sin, excusing our sin, or manipulating God or people for blessing.”  They rightly argue that repentance includes “confession, contrition, and change.”

Additionally, forgiveness is explored: “Forgiveness is a gospel issue … It has everything to do with God.  As an act of worship, we must respond to our sinful spouses as God has responded to our sin – with forgiveness – because it is a gospel issue.  We cannot accept forgiveness from God without extending it to our spouses.”  The Driscolls maintain that the gospel is the only answer to a healthy marriage.

Almost half of Real Marriage is about sex – a sensitive subject that been largely under-emphasized by Christians.  There is much to commend in these chapters.  The Driscolls include many practical principles that are rooted in Scripture.    Mark exposes the sin of pornography; a sin that has ruined many a marriage and he duly warns men and women to steer clear from this grievous sin.

Chapter ten is entitled, Can We _____? and is receiving the most criticism in the online reviews.  While the Driscolls seek to answer legitimate questions based on the framework of 1 Corinthians 6:12, much of the material is inappropriate and does not benefit readers.   The graphic nature of the material proves more harmful than helpful.  Indeed, “not all things are helpful” (1 Cor. 6:12).

Real Marriage is a difficult book to review.  There is a blend of good and unnecessary.  Readers should approach the book with a discerning eye and be sure to keep it out of the reach of children.

I received a complementary copy through the BookSneeze program.

3 stars

BOOK REVIEWS · Parenting

PASTOR DAD: Scriptural Insights on Fatherhood – Mark Driscoll (2009)

Pastor Dad by Mark Driscoll is a short and straightforward book for dads.

Driscoll brings his typical no-nonsense approach to the Christian life and applies his witty and biblical approach to parenting.

This short but powerful book begins where every book on parenting ought to begin, with God.  Driscoll rightly says, “The first thing we must note is that before a man can be a good father, he has to be a good Christian … Our ultimate goal must be that our children would grow to love and worship our God … I must worship the one true God as my Father, by repenting of my sin and coming to him by faith for grace to love him, as an example and pattern for my sons and, God willing, grandsons.”

Driscoll stresses a biblical approach to discipline.  The father must “discipline his children as needed to keep them on a path of wisdom and righteousness.”  He encourages dads to live exemplary lives before their children.  “Fathers are to lovingly lead their children toward heartfelt repentance of sin.”

Pastor Dad focuses in on the father’s duty to disciple his children.  It is the duty of every father to cultivate Christ-centered qualities and maturity in his children.  The father bears the primary responsibility for the spiritual growth of his family.

Driscoll rightly discusses the biblical roles of mom and dad: “There is no way anyone could read the Bible and wind up with the silly notion that both the husband and the wife are to be providers and that daycares or relatives are supposed to raise the children of a Christian couple.”  He willingly enters a contentious arena in a culture that is diametrically opposed to the biblical blueprint for family life.

I heartily recommend Pastor Dad.  Driscoll’s work is practical, thought-provoking, and challenging.  However, the most important feature of Driscoll’s book is its commitment to biblical principles.  Don’t expect an exhaustive approach to parenting.  Driscoll doesn’t pretend to provide all the answers.  But this is a good start.

Read this ebook which available for free at http://www.relit.org and pass it along to another dad.