Book Review: Doctrine by Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshears

Title: Doctrine: What Christians Should Believe
Authors: Mark Driscoll & Gerry Breshears
Publisher: Crossway (2010)

Over the last three years, Mark Driscoll & Gerry Breshears have been releasing books at a mind-boggling pace.

Vintage Jesus focuses on the question of who Jesus is and why it matters; Death by Love looks at the atonement; Vintage Church explores what it means to be the Church.

And now they’ve released Doctrine: What Christians Should Believe. Based on Driscoll’s sermon series of the same name from 2008, Doctrine examines 13 essential beliefs of the Christian faith: the Trinity, Revelation, creation, image, the fall, covenants, the incarnation, crucifixion & resurrection, the church, worship, stewardship and the Kingdom.

In many ways, this is Driscoll’s most focused book. As the story goes, the book originally weighed in at over 700 pages. The authors were forced to do some serious pruning. The result is a sharp 464 page work that sacrifices cuteness for clarity.

This is a welcome change, particularly for those who really don’t appreciate Driscoll’s sense of humor (and even for those who do). While his personality is definitely present, it doesn’t overshadow the content (something that happened in certain passages of Vintage Jesus).  Honestly, this is exactly how it should be. The content in this book is compelling enough on its own.

Worshipful Connection

As the authors provide readers with a foundational knowledge of each doctrine studied, they manage to tie each doctrine together so that we can see how they all fit. This is particularly evident in the chapter on worship. Driscoll & Breshears write: [Read more…]

Too Staggering a Claim to Remain Neutral

“If Jesus is dead, then Christianity is dead. If Jesus is alive, then Christianity is alive,” write Mark Driscoll & Gerry Breshears in their latest, Doctrine: What Christians Should Believe (p. 279).

In support of the release of Doctrine, Crossway has released two sample chapters including a 24-page chapter on the Resurrection of Jesus:

Apart from the resurrection of Jesus Christ, there is no savior, no salvation, no forgiveness of sin, and no hope of resurrected eternal life. Apart from the resurrection, Jesus is reduced to yet another good but dead man and therefore is of no considerable help to us in this life or at its end. Plainly stated, without the resurrection of Jesus, the few billion people today who worship Jesus as God are gullible; their hope for a resurrection life after this life is the hope of silly fools who trust in a dead man to give them life. Subsequently, the doctrine of Jesus’ resurrection is, without question, profoundly significant and worthy of the most careful consideration and examination.

Driscoll & Breshears, Doctrine: What Christians Should Believe, p. 279

“Apart from the resurrection. . . people today who worship Jesus as God are gullible.” It’s a harsh truth. Is it one we’ve taken time to consider?

Around this time of year is when the TV specials and magazine articles begin appearing in an attempt to debunk Jesus & the resurrection. “Maybe Jesus didn’t really die on the cross,” they say. “Maybe he only looked like he did.”

Maybe everyone who claimed to see Jesus hallucinated.

Maybe the whole thing is a bunch of gobbledygook cobbled together from various mythologies. After all, at the time, everyone’s god had come back from the dead… right? [Read more…]

Looking Ahead: Books I'm Looking Forward to in 2010

Looking at the books I enjoyed most over 2009 made me think about the ones I’m really looking forward to in 2010. Here are a few:

Doctrine: What Christians Should Believe
by Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshears

This book, a 464 page systematic theology based on Driscoll’s preaching series in 2008 is bound to leave an impression. About the book:

Doctrine is the word Christians use to define the truth-claims revealed in Holy Scripture. Of course there is a multitude of churches, church networks, and denominations, each with their own doctrinal statement with many points of disagreement. But while Christians disagree on a number of doctrines, there are key elements that cannot be denied by anyone claiming to be a follower of Jesus. In Doctrine: What Christians Should Believe, Driscoll and Breshears teach thirteen of these key elements. This meaty yet readable overview of basic doctrine will help Christians clarify and articulate their beliefs in accordance with the Bible.

3D.DugDownDeep%20copy.jpgDug Down Deep
by Joshua Harris

Joshua Harris’ latest book focuses on the practical importance of theology in the life of every believer as it shares Harris’ journey to having an informed knowledge of God as the foundation of his spiritual life. From the book:

The irony of my story—and I suppose it often works this way—is that the very things I needed, even longed for in my relationship with God, were wrapped up in the very things I was so sure could do me no good. I didn’t understand that such seemingly worn-out words as theology, doctrine, and orthodoxy were the pathway to the mysterious, awe-filled experience of truly knowing the living Jesus Christ.

They told the story of the Person I longed to know.

Dug Down Deep will be released on January 19th (and my ARC arrived on Tuesday!)

Read a review of the first chapterRead a review of the rest of the bookOrder [Read more…]

Book Review: Vintage Church

driscoll-vintage-church

Recommended: An extremely helpful and thorough look at the crucial elements of what makes the church the church.

What is a church?

This question is one that all Christians need an answer for. Today, we have all kinds of churches—seeker-sensitive churches, emerging churches, missional churches, purpose-driven churches, blogging churches, house churches, multi-site churches… You name it, there seems to be a church for it. But, these really have more to do with style and theological leaning than defining what a church is.

In Vintage Church, Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshears attempt to define exactly what the church is and how it can fulfill its mandate to transform the world as Christ has commanded.

For the majority of Christianity’s history, the definition of the Church has been assumed. The Nicene Creed states that “we believe in one holy and apostolic church,” but does not elaborate further than that. Cyprian, the Bishop of Carthage, wrote The Unity of the Church in 251, and no significant contribution to the subject was made until Wycliffe wrote The Church in 1378 (pg. 36). For 1000 years, it was essentially left untouched.

Realizing the importance of defining the Church before being able to really talk about it, Driscoll and Breshears establish the following definition, based on Acts chapter 2:

The local church is a community of regenerated believers who confess Jesus Christ as Lord. In obedience to Scripture they organize under qualified leadership, gather regularly for preaching and worship, observe the biblical sacraments of baptism and Communion, are unified by the Spirit, are disciplined for holiness, and scatter to fulfill the Great Commandment and the Great Commission as missionaries to the world for God’s glory and their joy (pg. 38).

[Read more…]