Sunday, August 2, 2009

Religion Saves--book review

I think it's safe to say that there hasn't been another book quite like Pastor Mark Driscoll's Religion Saves + Nine other Misconceptions (Crossway Books, 2009).

The book addresses 9 touchy-subjects (at least, as deemed by most evangelical churches) with directness, grace and biblical grounding that are seldom found in combination.

The issues were gleaned from questions submitted by the congregation at Mars Hill Church in Seattle. The topics were distilled down from a list of 893 questions; the congregation was invited to vote on those they were most interested in hearing the Pastor address and then he preached on the top nine. Those material from those sermons is compiled in Religion Saves.

Pastor Driscoll pulls no punches and takes no topic lightly. The result is a book with chapters that might come with a "not for young children" disclaimer if being aired on television.

Chapter One tackles the perpetually debated question regarding scriptures' view of birth control. Because it isn't specifically addressed in the Bible, Driscoll extrapolates his view from looking at passages regarding the purpose of the sexual relationship, God's view of children, His plan for the family, etc. While tasteful, the language is plain and blunt and I can see where certain audiences would disapprove. But then, it's also likely that those audiences wouldn't entertain questions on some of these issues, so it's probably a moot point.

Other topics addressed include:
  • Christian's use of humor (particularly in church/sermons)
  • Predestination
  • Grace
  • Sexual Sin
  • Faith and Works
  • Dating
  • The Emerging Church
  • The Regulative Principle

I appreciated the well-reasoned arguments, the clear use of scripture in forming his point-of-view and the grace with which he addressed differing opinions. Religion Saves + Nine other Misconceptions may not be a book that you'll pick up and read from beginning to end, it is definitely a good addition to your library for referring to when one of these questions arises and you want to have some solid biblical research to consider.