I became familiar with Pastor Mark Driscoll in 2007. I first heard his name during a church service when my Pastor mentioned him, and said that he(Driscoll) sometimes has a hard time controlling his tongue, and has raised some eyebrows by cussing in the pulpit. I didn’t think much more about him until later that same year when I attended an Acts29 boot camp with my Pastor. Since that boot camp, I have enjoyed hearing Pastor Mark speak several times, mainly through different podcasts, and YouTube clips, but also I attended the Advance09 conference this year.
I love Mark Driscoll’s passion for God, his passion for the Gospel, and his emphasis on the change in your life that will happen and must happen when you have truly experienced God. I love his passion for preaching the true Gospel, about the real Jesus, and his passion for church planting. I love his passion and his love for people, and his burden to reach them where they are, in their culture with the Word of God, and the knowledge of Christ, the only thing that can save them. Mark Driscoll is sometimes brash, sometimes rude, and maybe even at times says things that maybe he shouldn’t. But one thing is for certain, and this is the thing that I really love about him. He loves God, and preaches Him, and His truths unashamedly and with boldness in a culture that seems to have abandoned that approach, and has compromised the Gospel for the sake of being relevant, and politically correct. I really respect Mark Driscoll for never compromising the Gospel, or God’s Word, but yet doing it with love, and in a way that is relevant to our culture. But then again, God’s Word is always relevant, even if our culture and sadly our churches don’t think so. Enough with the Driscoll love fest, let’s move on to the real purpose of this post…
As I said earlier, I am very familiar with Mark Driscoll’s preaching, and his various ministries and associations. As much as I respect and admire him, “Death By Love” is the first book I’ve read, and the first opportunity I’ve had to read anything by him, so I was a little unsure of what to expect. I must say, I wasn’t disappointed. There is no mistaking Driscoll’s voice in this book. He writes with the same boldness, and at times bluntness in which he speaks. I don’t think this is a bad thing. Sometimes we need to use strong language(not cussing), because sometimes God uses strong language. Sometimes we must be “matter of fact”, because God is “matter of fact”. God doesn’t pull any punches, and neither does Driscoll.
“Death By Love” is basically a bunch of letters Driscoll writes to different people who are dealing with, or family members whom have been brought to Driscoll’s attention, who are dealing with certain issues, or are on the wrong paths in their lives. In these letters Driscoll’s emphasis is on the cross of Jesus, and on the things that Jesus accomplished on the cross. I love how Driscoll refers to the cross in the intro of the book. He refers to the cross as not only the jewel of Christianity, but a multi-faceted jewel.(Yes I know he’s not the first person to use this analogy, but it doesn’t take away from the awesomeness of the statement)
Some of the stories you read about in the book are heartbreaking. Some will make you angry. Some seem to indicate there is a happy ending for those involved, and I especially liked Driscoll’s letter to his youngest son Gideon. In typical Driscoll fashion he doesn’t hold back, and is at times brash. Sometimes he says things that most “church folks” will frown upon. But it is obvious to me as I read this book that Driscoll loves God, and has a heart for people, and a burden for people to come to know God so that they can love him too. He knows who he is, and more importantly who he was. He understands that apart from the grace of God, poured out to him through Jesus Christ, he would be in similar situations, maybe worse situations than those to whom he is writing.
At times the book is a bit “theological” and that might turn unbelievers, or those who aren’t that deep into theology, or big theological words away. I would say if that is you, don’t let it. You can’t draw closer to God without being at least to some degree theological. Don’t let the words intimidate you. At the end of each letter, there is a short section that goes a little more in depth, and explains the theological aspects, and relates them in a way, and answers questions in a way that can be easily understood. These sections are authored by a close friend and a former professor of Driscoll’s, Gerry Breashears.
While I believe many can benefit from this book(especially those hurting, struggling with sin, or seeking Jesus), I think perhaps those who could benefit most, and I think those who really need this book most, are Pastors and Christian leaders. I think in this book you will find valuable insights, and helps, and ways to communicate the Gospel, and what Jesus accomplished on the cross to those who come into your path, your church, or your office, who are hurting. Those who are hurting, and even those who have caused hurt, need the Gospel. They need the love and mercy of Christ, and I think this book will be a great benefit to all Pastors and Christian leaders who are responsible for showing that love, and teaching others how to love as well. So my suggestion is…Go buy this book.
My rating, on a scale of 1-10…9.5