Drinking Deeply

Friday, December 29, 2006 at 10:57 AM

Book Review: Confessions of a Reformission Rev.

Confessions of a Reformission Rev. is sort of an autobiographical story of Mark Driscoll and the growth of Mars Hill Church. Written in a very readable first-person format, I was definitely drawn in Mark and Mars Hill's life and growth through the ups and downs. The book followed Mark as he went through his own personal theological development, his problems with various people and situations in the church and personal life and how he dealt with them. It certainly showed the dark side as well as the good sides of Mark and Mars Hill. I finished this book in like a day. It was pretty good and very readable.

It did an excellent job of introducing me to Mark Driscoll and his idea of what "Emerging"/"Missional" looked like. I think he would qualify himself as missional more than emerging, though many of the organizations he is/was involved with are known more as emerging from my understanding. He takes the charge to be a friend of sinners very seriously, and is always encouraging people to bring friends, reach out to the community, and the like.

There was a lot of things I appreciated about this book. Mark was winsome, blunt, honest, harsh on his opponents and harsher on himself. Mark was bold about what he believed, almost to a fault. There are many times where he would simply state what he believe (on the sovereignty of God, infant baptism, church government) and then sort of dismiss the other views. Which is certainly fine in a personal autobiography, but the book came at times as a "how to build a church" book, complete with questions at the end of each chapter, so I wasn't quite sure how appropriate I thought the blanket dismissals were, even if I agreed with them. The few times I didn't agree with Mark, I found his sarcastic (almost mocking) tone a bit arrogant, so I can only image how people would respond if they didn't agree with him on women pastors or the sovereignty of God.

It was also humbling to see the costs and sacrifices that he made for the church and building up the church and the need for commitment from his congregation and how they responded. Certainly challenged me to examine just how committed I was to my church, if pastors were willing to do that for their flock. I was surprised at how often he had to basically tear down the existing structure and start anew, and longed for the same humility in myself that the elders and members of his church showed throughout the process.

I also really appreciated the emphasis upon manhood that Mark had. Properly diagnosing the problem as a lack of Biblical teaching, Mark did exactly the right thing in raising up leaders, teaching them to teach other leaders (per the commands in Titus), and keeping an eye especially on making men men. Way to go Mark!

As with all things, there are things I didn't quite agree with or like about Mark or the book. My big issue was the colorful language. There are a number of occurrences where Mark depicted something in a manner that I thought was very unbecoming of a pastor of a church. Phrases that my mother would slap me for seem to be funny or a joke to Mark. It wasn't like he admitted his language was a problem (which would have made it better I guess), but it sounded like he was trying to win points with the "in" crowd, who knew all the slang and all the funny ways to joke about sexuality. Very uncool.

I do wish there was a little bit more Scripture in support of the theology he was espousing (especially for church government, something I am still uncertain about myself), but I guess that's how he decided to write the book, not as a Scriptural defense of his ecclesiology but as a casual explanation of what they went through.

All in all, an excellent read for getting to know Mark Driscoll and his brand of Reformissions. Good stuff. There are better books on church (namely, Dever's Deliberate Church) and better books on theology (if you're looking for that), but certainly an excellent biographical account. Worth reading if someone wants a better picture of who Mark Driscoll is and what he's about.

Worth reading =)

My recommendation: Borrow it


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