Search This Blog


Kind of a Book Review

Death by Love: Letters from the Cross (Re:Lit)I just finished reading "Death by Love: Letters from the Cross" by Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshears. I first became acquainted with Mark Driscoll after seeing him speak on a video from a Desiring God conference a few years ago. I, being perpetually cautious, decided to look him up on his blog and youtube to learn more about him, his church, and ministry. Well, I can't agree with all of his methods (call me old fashioned, but I hate pragmatism in the church), but his theology and doctrine seem really sound.
In this book, Mr. Driscoll presents a collection of letters written to various people he has encountered through witnessing and counseling as a pastor, and they are used to describe different aspects of Christ's atoning death on the cross and how it works for believers. *Warning* This book is not for the faint of heart. There is a brief description of the individuals to whom the letters are written just prior to them, and some of the backstories are not only honest, but disturbing, as is all sin. However, they are not graphically described, nor is any undue attention placed there.
There are a few times where I've cringed at Mr. Driscoll's choice of words (though they aren't vulgar or crude). It's just that some of his descriptions, though accurate and honest, are very blunt and I could see how some could be taken aback by it and even be somewhat offended. Though overall I wasn't offended by them, just wished he had chosen a different way to say some things.
Each chapter is a real letter to a real person, suffering from real sin. And I was very impressed and convicted and challenged while reading each one. Mr. Driscoll uses alot of scripture in counseling and handles the Word of God very aptly, yet in a way that is simple enough for anyone to understand the gospel. And one of the most touching letters is one he wrote to his youngest son, explaining the gospel.
3938_medium_imgAt the end of each chapter is a very useful question and answer section from Gerry Breshears, detailing the theological and doctrinal issues that have been brought up in the letter, reiterating the Scriptural basis for each. This is also a very good resource for an introduction to theological terminology, and gives very easy to understand definitions along with their scriptural references.
Overall, I really enjoyed reading this book. I found the openness and honesty portrayed throughout to be not only refreshing, but reassuring. There is no better way for us, as those redeemed through Christ's atoning death, to glorify Him than to proclaim His supremacy and live victoriously in Him. It was encouraging to read something where issues that often don't get talked about openly were addressed in an honest, loving, and biblical way. Mr. Driscoll does a wonderful job of showing true compassion and love through the gospel without compromising truth in each of the letters, and is honest in his own struggles when dealing with some of the people. (He even tells of how hard it was for him to share the gospel with one older man who had abused all of his various wives and children every possible way and had lived a disgusting life in depravity.)
I think this would be an excellent book for teenagers and their parents to read together, because in his honest counseling we encounter many people broken by the lusts and sins of their youth, but the cross of Christ is lifted up and shown to be able to both propitiate the wrath of God and expiate us of our sins. For example, you won't find many other books where a child molester is given the gospel or a rape victim, and yet those are realities of the sinfulness of our world.
3841_medium_imgI was greatly convicted while reading, and often saw my sinfulness in each of the letters. I would recommend that, regardless of how you feel about Mark Driscoll's ministry, reading this book.  Mr. Driscoll is often criticized for addressing topics that are seen as inappropriate, but I disagree, and wish that more pastors and teachers, in an appropriate setting of course, would speak more openly and biblically about many of the things young people especially are dealing with and facing each day. There are topics that we don't like to think about, but we should and have to address all sin through the Bible. 

No comments: