After listening to Mark Driscoll’s newest book, A Call to Resurgence, I feel like I just went through a week of seminar…on fast forward…uphill. I would gladly tell you what Driscoll talks about if only I could figure out what he left out. A Call to Resurgence is a fast paced, insightful, straight-forward work that doesn’t bother to pull any punches. In his introduction, Driscoll sums this up by saying that there are two primary groups that will listen to his book: those who agree with him on some level and those who are looking to cast stones. Being a good, considerate Christian, he has piled up said stones for the second group’s convenience.
Driscoll presents his well-researched, well thought-out points in his patent off-the-cuff sarcastic style. This will likely leave the listeners thinking, laughing, or grinding their teeth all depending on how close they are to Drisoll’s position on a myriad of biblical, doctrinal, and missional topics. Regardless of what side of each of these issues you fall on, the arguments presented are not easily waved away. Driscoll sets up solid arguments with far-reaching, real-life examples coupled with scholarly proof. Feel free to dislike what he has to say; however, if listeners can set aside their pre-conceived notions and biases for a few hours they will find that Driscoll makes some very valid, if somewhat disturbing, observations about both the church and the direction of Christianity today.
One of the areas that Driscoll addresses that was particularly beneficial was the idea of “tribes”. He talks about what we believe and why we believe it. I have always found myself shying away from classification since I felt it might limit me or stymie my spiritual growth in some way. After listening to what Driscoll shared though, I realized that we need to know what we’re not to know what we are. Additionally, it is difficult (if not impossible) to explain what you believe unless you know what beliefs are out there. It’s a little like explaining to someone who has been blind since birth what the color blue is. With no basis of comparison, explanation is largely an exercise in futility.
A secondary area that I found engaging was the author’s detailed analysis of various doctrines and how they are viewed by the various “tribes” of the Christian faith. I have to admit that I was so impressed with this section that I went out and purchased a hardcover of his book Doctrine: What Christians Should Believe. I did this primarily because I wanted to hear even more information it greater detail. I have to admit that I also did this to slow him down. In listening to this section, it felt like the theological equivalent of putting instant milk into condensed soup and warming it up in a microwave. If had gone through in any more quickly his flux capacitor would have engaged and he would have gone back in time! I’m not sure if this is a criticism or my awe at the fact that he could cram that much information into so little space so quickly. Airline passengers around the world grow green with envy at his professional alacrity as well speak. If only they could do physically what he does verbally, they could pack all the inventory of their local super Wal-Mart into a carry-on bag.
A final area that was not only useful but highly scholarly was Driscoll’s fairly lengthy appendix on church history. I found it useful and enlightening to quickly trace where many of the roots of ideas and values in many American “tribes” came from. It made me wonder in fact if they even know. As a pastor of an independent, non-denominational church, I find myself working in the midst of churches ranging from charismatics to fundamentalists. It was useful to see how coming out of the same place, historically speaking, these churched ended up where they are. It was enlightening to see the predominate points that we all agree as well as the secondary points that we differ on. Not only was this engaging from an academic sense, but also it gave me some tools for crossing the imagined boundaries that exist between brothers and sisters within the faith community.
Mike Chamberlain did a great job of narrating this book. He had a great sense of pacing, tone, and timing. At one point I actually stopped the recording to check that it wasn’t the author doing the narrating: always a good sign. I look forward to hearing more voice-work done by Chamberlain. The Christian community needs more understandable, talented speakers to help share God’s Word.
Dr. Nicholson reviews academic, Christian living, and fiction books for a variety of publishers in an array of formats. He is never paid for any of his reviews. He writes these strictly as a courtesy to his students at Desert bible Institute and for any other readers that might find his insights valuable. For more reviews or information, visit Dr. Nicholson’s blog at drtnicholson.wordpress.com.
A copy of the book was generously offered to Dr. Nicholson by christianaudio.com in exchange for this unbiased review.