Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Book Review: Mark Driscoll's Who Do You Think You Are?

Mark Driscoll isn't really a guy who can write a book, and many try to read it without some sort of bias about how they feel regarding him. If you like his pastoral approach then you will eagerly get this book first chance you get, and if you hate his approach then you will have many strong thoughts just on him alone that will only be fueled by the fact he is releasing a book for the masses to read. Also, Driscoll does throw a bit of Reformed theology into the book, and considering how many people get their clothes in a bunch over that topic most will probably walk away over the word "predestination".

In a very rare more though, Driscoll tries to be less Driscoll. He avoids some of the topics that have gotten him into the ring with people, and tries to mainly focus on the topic of encouraging Christians that they should be encouraged that they are followers of Christ. He discusses the spiritual gifts, and shares stories of people who have came from difficult past, but who let Christ define their identity instead of the rough past they came from. Driscoll also writes a bit about the temptation of Satan, and how seeking other things that can define us can become idolatry.

After researching a little about Driscoll he's avoided some topics, or at least writing about them as much, like gender roles. He does glaze over that, but then quickly gets off it. He also features a lot of accounts of females in the book who were finding their identity in Christ. Besides that, there were some things about his sermons that did still seem quite prominent in the book, and that is his thoughts on idolatry. He seems to make this a huge point of his focus not only in this book, but also to people he pastors to. The assumption is some strongly agree with him that people easily make all sorts of things idols, and others will accuse him of trying to use some sort of cult like approach of dominating people into feeling punished. The thing is while reading this almost anything humans at one point or another become attached to he seems to believe is an idol. While he doesn't leave many holes to disagree with him on this, it also seems dangerous the tactic he is taking on in this book by making people feel quite hopeless.

With this book Driscoll puts together he doesn't ever really get offensive though, so to try to attack it there isn't much ground unless you just don't like Reformed theology. There is nothing disguised about his thoughts on that.  As someone who is someone who believes that Calvinism is accurate, it can be insightful on certain terms that you haven't become acquainted with yet. Also, the point of the book is to allow readers to find some hope that their identity isn't on their worth as a human, but more so in the idea that it is because Christ saved you. That is where a person's identity lies, and that is a great message because as humans, especially Christians, we struggle to attach it to so many other things when it is really Christ.

There are moments where you feel a little hopeless though because in one moment Driscoll is encouraging his readers that they are sinners saved by Christ, and the next he seems to be discouraging in his discussion of being tempted and that sometime we will sin. For someone who may not be well acquainted with his branch of theology they might even get the idea he saying if you sin then you aren't a follower of Christ. As you read,  you know that isn't the point, but it definitely gets confusing at times.

While reading this one it is the safe bet to get out the book of Ephesians, and read along with the verses, and chapters that Driscoll is using. He basically is working from this book in it, and discussing much of Paul's letter. The thoughts in the book are well strung together, and he makes strong points. Driscoll's personality is still quite present though even if someone seems to be trying to tame it a bit. At the end of the day though, this book has some good things to reflect on, but it doesn't necessarily provide anything new either. Personally, I've never been someone much into the approach of a pastor releasing a book, a workbook, and a DVD combo pack type thing to the masses. That doesn't mean it isn't someone else's though, and if it helps for others I can't really bash it either. For me it's a little bit to mega church like.

Rating 3 of 5.

This book was provided by Booksneeze in exchange for a review. 

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