On occasion the fine people over at Crossway Books will forward one of their new books to me and allow me the privilege to read and review the book. I try to be selective of which books I review because my regular reading list which is filled with books I’ve purchased or which have been given to me consumes most of my time. I’m still trying to live up to D.A. Carson’s startling revelation that he reads 500 books a year. Unfortunately I’m not even close…..yet. Maybe I’ll get there at some point.
Anyway, Crossway recently sent me a copy of Mark Driscoll’s new book “Death by Love“. I don’t think anyone who reads this blog with any regularity will doubt that I’m a big fan of Driscoll. My impression of him was heightened recently when I saw a copy of his preaching notes from a typical message. I’ll have to be honest that my jaw dropped when I took a look at those. He is certainly one of those individuals who is uniquely gifted by God to communicate God’s Gospel. Death by Love, however, is the latest of Driscoll’s books that he co-authors with Dr. Gerry Breshears who happens to be Professor of Theology and Chairman of the Division of Biblical and Theological Studies at Western Seminary. The book is fascinating in its style. It is actually a series of 12 letters that Mark writes from a pastoral perspective in an attempt to communicate biblical theology in a manner which has practical application in the lives of his audience.
Never one to shy away from difficult topics, Driscoll remains true to form in this book. Dealing with issues like demon oppression, lust, adultery, rape, molestation, physical abuse, illness and hate Driscoll and Breshears answer these questions, but not in the typical patsy response offered by too many pastors. No, instead they offer topics like redemption, propitiation, expiation, reconciliation and Jesus as Christus Victor as beacons of hope in each of these situations. Each chapter begins with a letter from Driscoll then moves on to a more significant explanation of the theme. The chapter then closes with a variety of answers which are given to many common questions dealing with the topic at hand.
This book is one of the more impressive tomes on the topic of biblical theology that I’ve ever read. While it’s no “theology book” in the classic sense of offerings like Grudem’s theology or my personal favorite, Erickson’s theology. It is not comprehensive, nor systematic enough, to be included in that genre. No, instead this book offers a limited amount of biblical and theological exposition but does so in a way that would be appealing to the believer who simply wants to strengthen their approach to biblical theology, particularly with theological application in mind.
I would strongly encourage any believer who is interested in how the deep things of God have specific, practical bearing on our daily lives to grab a copy of this book and devour it. It’s a wonderful exposition and explanation of scriptural truths but is done in such a way that you don’t have to struggle to grab the apparent esoteric themes that so often dominate the theological world.
Practical, insightful, weighty and biblically accurate. This book certainly gets two thumbs up! At the bottom of the page you’ll notice a video from Driscoll’s church that offers some more insight into the book. I hope you’ll take a look.