Death By Love

I don't know where Mark Driscoll finds time to do all he's doing right now. His face is on almost every flier I get for an upcoming conference, he's writing books like it's going out of style, blogs on a regular basis, and oh yeah - he pastors a church at the same time.

I've read a couple of books by Driscoll, and have another on pre-order. The most recent book was "Death By Love," by Driscoll and his friend Gerry Breshears. It's a book of letters Driscoll wrote to various people explaining how the cross affected (or should affect) their situation. The book is much more heavy than Vintage Jesus, because a lot of the case-studies Driscoll uses contain some pretty heavy situations.

Driscoll tackles everything from spiritual warfare to adultery, and demonstrates how Jesus is Christus Victor, Redeemer, Sacrifice, Righteousness, Justification, Propitiation, Expiation, Unlimited Limited Atonement, Ransom, Christus Exemplar, Reconciliation, and Revelation because of His cross.

If you've ever heard Driscoll speak, you know that he's not scared to take on anything, and he's not afraid to be as blunt as he needs to be. This book is written with that same style. You can't help but respect that, even if you disagree with him.

I don't find myself disagreeing with much though. In fact, this book has already helped me think through some pretty nasty pastoral counseling issues, by helping me remember that everything points back to the cross.

Even the chapter on "Unlimited Limited Atonement" was exceptional. I'm not a "reformed" guy, mainly because I just can't buy the argument of limited atonement (that Jesus didn't die for the sins of the world - only the elect). I understand the arguments, I just can't make the Bible say that. But Driscoll calls himself "reformed," and deals with this issue differently than a regular Calvinist would be inclined to do. I went into the chapter on Unlimited Limited Atonement expecting to be disappointed, which is probably why I liked it so much.

This book is a great practical application of theology about Jesus. It is written well, but it isn't an easy read. Even still, whether you're a pastor attempting to think through pastoral counseling situations, or your a person who could benefit from some good pastoral counseling, this book is absolutely worth asking Santa for this year.


Bobby said...

Hey Chris.
Driscoll is also one of my favorites! I am SO glad to hear that someone else struggles with the "L" in TULIP other than me!!! I actually consider myself "reformed," but like you I struggle to arrive at the same conclusion about limited atonement. Funny, as I talk to my reformed friends (of which I have many), I can trace MY LOGIC to that conclusion... but not the Scriptures. Great stuff bro.

Kim said...

We'll have to talk about your limited atonement remarks sometime. I think John 10:11-18 speaks to it fairly clearly. My comment though has more to do with Driscoll. I truly don't know what to think about him. On the one hand, he holds the reformed position I believe. On the other hand, I almost always cringe when he gets ready to talk, not knowing at all if he will be tactful or gracious. I like honesty and I like being creative with words and not saying everything the same way all the time, but he does push the bounds of "let no unwholesome talk come from your mouth". What do you think?

I like your blog... good stuff.

Chris Freeland said...

Hey Kim,

Thanks for the comment. I agree totally with you about Mark Driscoll (I think I even mentioned that in my review of Vintage Jesus). Some of that is probably cultural, and some of it is probably something else.I much prefer his writing to his speaking.

If John 10:11-18 was the only passage in Scripture, LA would be a slam dunk for me. But it's no more clear than 1 John 2:2 is for the other side. Jesus can say "I lay down my life for my sheep," and say "I died for all people," and the two are perfectly congruent. 1 John (and 2 Peter 2:1) wouldn't be congruent if we interpret John 10:11-18 as meaning "I lay down my life only for my sheep." At least so far as I understand them...

If you want to borrow Driscoll's book so you can see how he handles it, I'd love to loan it to you. I really like the way he talks about it.

Kim said...

Hi Chris,

I would love to borrow the Driscoll book. I love to read and I am cheap. So borrowing is a great option for me. =) I'm also pretty fast, so I won't keep it too long. Thanks for the offer. I'll stop by the office next time I'm around.

Okay... not turning this into a debate on limited atonement, because that's really not the hill I want to die on... but the verse you said is not congruent with John 10 if my interpretation is correct actually supports my interpretation. 1 John 2:2 does not say "I died for all people", it says "and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world." The word "propitiation" makes me say that "world" can't mean everyone in the world, but must mean "people elected by God from every tribe, tongue, and nation". My understanding is that propitiation means "the appeasement of the wrath of God". Assuming you are not an universalist (and I know that you are not), how can God's wrath still remain on people that don't believe if it has been appeased?

Chris Freeland said...

Hey Kim,

I won't die on that hill either, and certainly won't be offended by the discussion...

If "propotiation" and "justification" are mutually inclusive, I would agree with you. I believe there is a difference between payment for sin and forgiveness of sin. An unbelievers sin can be paid for, whereby satisfying the wrath of God, without that unbeliever's sin being forgiven. To use an admittedly flawed analogy, I could pay the remaining debt on your home, but if you refuse to sign the title, you do not receive the benefits of my propitiation of the mortgage company.

The fact that in John, "all" means "all" in every other context I'm aware of, and "world" always means "fallen world" makes the LA argument tough for me. In fact, the concept of "world" is foundational to Johns point in both his epistles and gospel - and if the concept means something other than "fallen world system" it dilutes Johns argument, in my opinion.