Book Review: Religion Saves + Nine Other Misconceptions by Mark Driscoll

religion-saves

The Book

My beautiful wife gave me this book for Christmas, and ever since I’ve been slowly picking my way through it’s pages.  It’s that type of book.  You can read a chapter one night, put the book down, pick it up again a month later, and read another chapter.  The chapters stand on their own.

Religion Saves was a sermon series at Mars Hill Church before it became a book.  Driscoll gave his church members (and really anyone who visited the church website) the chance to vote on his sermon topics.  The nine most popular questions, as determined by the online voting, were developed into the Religion Saves sermon series.  The book came about after the fact.

The questions preached / written upon were:

9. Birth Control:  There’s no doubt the Bible says children are a blessing, but the Bible doesn’t seem to address the specific topic of birth control.  Is this a black-and-white topic, or does if all under liberties?

8. Humor:  Why do you make jokes in sermons about Mormon missionaries, homosexuals, trench coat wearers, single men, vegans, and emo kids, and then expect these groups to come to know God through those sermons?

7. Predestination:  Why does an all-loving, all-knowing, and all-sovereign God will into creation people he foreknows will suffer eternal condemnation – and the Romans 9:20 answer seems like a cop-out!

6. Grace:  Of all the things you teach, what parts of Christianity do you still wrestle with?  What’s hardest for you to believe?

5. Sexual Sin:  How should Christian men and women go about breaking free form the bondage of sexual sin?

4. Faith and Works:  If salvation is by faith alone, then why are so many verses that say or imply the opposite – that salvation is by works?

3. Dating:  How does a Christian date righteously, and what are the physical, emotional, and mentally connecting boundaries a Christian must set while developing an intimate relationship prior to marriage?

2. The Emerging Church:  What can traditional or established churches learn from “emerging” churches?

1. The Regulative Principle:  Do you believe that the Scripture not only regulates our theology but also our methodology?  In other words, do you believe in the regulative principle?  If so, to what degree?  If not, why not?

My Opinion

As you can see, some of this is pretty heady and some of it is pretty practical, but most all of it is interesting.  One of my favorite things about Driscoll’s writing style is how well-stated and organized his books are.  He manages again and again to state an unbelievable amount of information in a concise, understandable, well-organized, digestable-for-nearly-anyone format.  Even if you are a pastor, and think you already know your answer / opinion on all of these questions, this is a useful resource.  Because let’s face it, unless you’re D.A. Carson or John Piper, Driscoll probably answers these questions better than you would.

My favorite chapters are:  Birth Control, Predestination, Sexual Sin, Dating, and The Emerging Church.  I would argue that each of these chapters warrant the purchase of the book alone.

Really good read!

p.s. – you can watch all the sermons online rather than read here:
http://www.marshillchurch.org/media/religionsaves?direction=asc&order_by=date

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