From the Shelf: Death By Love

In my From the Shelf series I will give a quick review of the books I’ve been reading. The first installment looks at Death By Love by Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshears. Enjoy!

When you’re a seminary student, you accumulate a lot of books.  This particular book comes from my “Books of Christmas Past” collection.  I finally had some time to read, and am glad I did.

This is the fourth book I have read by Pastor Mark Driscoll, who is the founder and teaching pastor at Mars Hill Church in Seattle.  In this work, Driscoll explores the meaning behind 12 aspects of Christ’s work on the cross, and then explains how each aspect affects our daily lives.

The format of the book is interesting, as each chapter is written in the form of a letter to someone Pastor Mark has interacted with in his ministry.  This makes for very conversational reading, and allows Driscoll to distill complex theological concepts in a way that anyone can understand and relate to.

First and foremost, this book is theologically orthodox.  Driscoll displays his skill as a Bible teacher to take the historical, orthodox beliefs of the church and communicate them in a way that connects with today’s culture.  Anyone who teaches would do well to learn from Mark Driscoll on this point.

Along with its theological depth, this book is also incredibly pastoral.  By this I mean you really see the heart of a man who cares deeply for the people to whom he ministers, and desires to see nothing more than they find their total life and fulfillment in Christ.  Driscoll reminds readers that the cross must be central in the lives of Christians, and that everything should come back to the cross.  This is a needed reminder and challenge in the church today: to help people find satisfaction in the cross and Christ alone.

This work is also brutally practical. Driscoll deals with real people, who are real sinners, as we all are.  That makes this book difficult to read at times, because sin is uncomfortable.  But I think that is the point.  This book will make you hate the sin you read about, and hopefully make you face and hate your own sin.  Also, Driscoll is direct, and pulls no punches.  He demonstrates well how to tell the truth in love, even when that might just hurt someone’s feelings.

Overall, I would commend Death By Love to you.   For followers of Jesus, it is a great reminder and demonstration of the centrality of the cross in all of life.  If you aren’t a follower of Jesus, I think this a great introduction into why Christians worship a man who was killed on a cross.  This book demonstrates why I think Mark Driscoll has the potential of being this generation’s C.S. Lewis, in terms of his ability to communicate timeless truth in timely and accessible ways.  Happy reading!

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