Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Book Review>Vintage Jesus

This is the other book I finished Saturday, also a pretty quick read.

I first encountered Mark Driscoll (Pastor at Mars Hill Church, Seattle) in the book "Listening to the Beliefs of Emerging Churches" and was less than impressed. He was so mean! But I've heard some of his messages online, and I'm glad to say he was much more "civil" in his treatment of the subjects in Vintage Jesus.

In short, this is a book I'm planning on taking some friends through. This is a book that answers basic questions about Jesus in a very down to Earth manor, and with enough humor to really keep you goin. I really like the dedication: "To anyone who takes Jesus seriously, but not themselves".

I hope this doesn't sound arrogant, but being raised by an "evangelical" Pastor, a lot of the material was review for me. I also could tell the influence of Francis A. Schaeffer in some of the chapters, particularly in viewing Jesus as Prophet, Priest, and King. This is material I have used in teaching Middle School Sunday School, so I was all over it.

One thing I did find funny was that Driscoll calls out Rob Bell (from similarly named Mars Hill Church in Michigan) out about his treatment of the Virgin Birth, but then practically clones Bell's treatment of the grand story of scripture going from the Garden of Eden to the City of God.

Only a couple of freaky things for me. The notion that there will be a sliding scale of rewards and punishments:
Furthermore, because Jesus is just, he will distribute varying degrees of rewards for each Christian in correlation to their faithfulness, just as he will punish non-Christians in varying degrees according to the wickedness they have committed. (page 223-244)
If you look up Revelation 20: 12-15 which is footnoted, I'm not sure everyone will draw the exact same conclusion. I don't see where "each will be judged according to what they have done" means 'some will have a better equipped room that Jesus is preparing' or 'Satan will go easy on the ones that did almost good enough'. Yikes!

The other freaky thing was when Driscoll was describing how Jesus is our savior, and how different people are looking for different saviors. He does this by comparing magazines targeted to different age groups, a brilliant illustration. But in describing what "mothers of mothers of jr. high girls" want, Driscoll includes this on the list of saviors according to what he sees in Redbook magazine:
"a husband who likes to snuggle and listen attentively while somehow remaining heterosexual. (page 191)"
To me, this is just dumb. When people are already itching to accuse "conservative" Christians men of being homophobes and chauvinists, why would you make a flippant comment like this? The implication is that if a husband "cuddles" or is a good listener; than he must really be gay. C'mon. That comment was completely unnecessary.

There are a couple of other "could've done without that" sentances, but for the most part this is an excellent book that I plan on using as a resource in our congregation.

1 comment:

tdi said...

Adam -

Would love to read this when I don't have so much assigned for school.

Sometimes, I find that books that are written for a certain Christian sub-culture often use language and phrasing that cause alleges outsiders alarm...but would not cause the author or the typical reader to pause. That being said. Who has two thumbs, likes to cuddle, and is a good listener...? This guy!