Review Time!I have just recently read 'Religion Saves: and 9 other Misconceptions' by Mark Driscoll and am reviewing this book (which is part of the Re:Lit series) along with other bloggers, as part of a blog tour over at Litfuse :) If you're interested in reading and/or listening to excerpts of this book, then head on over to here.
The idea behind this latest book from Pastor Mark Driscoll stems from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthian church where he answered a number of highly relevant questions posed by the Corinthians. This sparked a desire within Driscoll to call for visitors to his Mars Hill church congregation to submit the questions they most wanted answered on the church’s website. Out of this experiment, the nine most popular ‘hot topic’ questions of today's Christians were gauged and subsequently answered by Driscoll in the form of a sermon devoted to each one – starting from the ninth most popular question to the most popular one. Likewise, the book has also mirrored this structure with a chapter assigned to each question.
Beginning with the question on birth control, Driscoll frames his answer to this question (and the subsequent ones) with a mixture of anecdotes and examples (each of which are helpful in illustrating his point and showing where the 'rubber meets the road' so to speak), historical overviews, and an in-depth look at the different aspects of each issue which are at times broken up with slices of Driscoll’s trademark sense of humour.
Throughout the book, Driscoll constantly refers the reader back to Scripture by quoting numerous Bible verses and drawing attention to principles God has clearly given to guide us in our thinking and decision making on these nine particularly controversial topics. He also encourages the reader to apply these principles to not only these issues but other ones in life which may not be directly addressed in the Bible yet require us to respond to them with a clear conscience before God. Driscoll also draws upon a number of reliable resources when analysing the different viewpoints people hold along the spectrum on each of these nine topics. This then is how Driscoll tackles each question which range from the 'lighter' though not any less important (i.e. Humour, Dating) to the more 'heavy', theological hot topics of Predestination, Grace, Sexual Sin, Faith and Works and The Emerging Church, which may see you experiencing a bit of “mental gymnastics”. Driscoll then wraps up the book with this bottom line statement saying: "...when something commanded by God is not done, that is sin. When something forbidden by God is done, that is sin. When Scripture is silent, it is not God's way of giving us a moment to speak for him but to be silent as an act of worship."
I found this book to be a challenging and thought-provoking read yet an enjoyable one as I appreciated the depth to which Driscoll has gone in exploring each of these issues. As a result, I have gained a deeper understanding of topics which I thought I already had a good knowledge of. One little thing I personally found detracting, however, was the footnoting style Driscoll used which saw the numbering for Scripture references being differentiated from other types of resources referred to in each chapter. Yet in saying this, I enjoyed being able to go straight to the Bible verse whenever one was quoted. Overall, I would not hesitate in recommending this book to any Christian who is keen to gain a biblical perspective and thorough understanding on some of the key issues that are prevalent in Christian circles today.