August 21st, 2009
Driscoll, Mark. Religion Saves + Nine other Misconceptions. Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2009. 288 pp. $19.99.
Misc. Background Info.
Before I begin this review, I would like to share some fond memories of the roots of this book. A friend of mine, Tim Brister, posed a question as part of Mark Driscoll’s campaign to come up with nine questions that were dogging the church today. Brister asked a question regarding the regulative principle and its application in the church today. Things got a bit ugly in the comment box and in the voting to the point that Tim decided at one point to step out and let his question fall out of the top nine. However, after much discussion with some of his friends and prayer, he decided to have a “ninth-inning rally” and called out to his friends and readers of his website to vote and vote often. What ended up happening was his question went from off the page to number one!
I was one who voted each day the maximum number of 10 times for Tim’s question. While there were some very good questions, I admit I voted for Tim simply because he was a friend of mine. He is currently serving as the associate pastor at Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral, FL.
I know Mark Driscoll has been called on the carpet more than once by many in my convention and by many in evangelicalism at large. I also know that not many agree with what he has to say. This book certainly will do nothing to change that, but it cannot be said that God is not using Mark Driscoll. With a particular candor that is often lacking in many pulpits, Mark deals directly and biblically with many issues of today. Simply because many think a topic too taboo to discuss, does not deter Mark.
In Religion Saves, Mark looks at nine questions that were voted on during a couple month period in a drive entitled “Ask Anything.” The top nine questions were asked in ascending order from number nine to number one. They are as follows one is actually nine and nine is one):
- There’s no doubt the Bible says children are a blessing, but the Bible doesn’t seem to address the specific topic of birth control. Is this a black-and-white topic, or does it fall under liberties?
- Why do you make jokes in sermons about Mormon missionaries, homosexuals, trench coat wearers, single men, vegans, and emo kids, and then expect these groups to come to know God through those sermons?
- Why does an all-loving, all-knowing, and all-sovereign God will into creation people he foreknows will suffer eternal condemnation–and the Romans 9:20 answer seems a cop-out!
- Of all the things you teach, what parts of Christianity do you still wrestle with? What’s hardest for you to believe?
- How should Christian men and women go about breaking free from the bondage of sexual sin?
- If salvation is by faith alone, then why are there so many verses that say or imply the opposite–that salvation is by works?
- How does a Christian date righteously, and what are the physical, emotional, and mentally connecting boundaries a Christian must set while developing an intimate relationship prior to marriage?
- What can traditional or established churches learn from “emerging” churches?
- Do you believe that Scripture not only regulates our theology bu also our methodology? In other words, do you believe in the regulative principle? If so, to what degree? If not, why not?
As I said, you may not (probably will not) agree with where Driscoll comes down on some of these topics–I know I do not–but you will appreciate his candor and his use of Scripture to support his answers. If you do not have the time to read the book, then you can go to the website of Mars Hill Church and download the audio and/or video of each sermon in the series Religion Saves that comprises this book. All in all, this book is worth picking up and reading as I know that many Christians have the same questions about what they can and cannot do and still be right. At the very least, you will have a good starting point when it comes to engaging others about these topics.