Monday, March 24, 2008

Vintage Jesus – Mark Driscoll & Gerry Breshears

© 2008 Crossway, Wheaton, IL

I had been fascinated by this title ever since I came across it last fall. To be truthful, I really wanted to figure out how to get an ARC so I wouldn’t have to wait until publication to read it. Then, when it came in I had a pile three deep to get through before I could open it. (Enough of my pity party, and on to the review.) At any rate, I found that I was also fascinated as I read the book.

Driscoll, the founding pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, jumps right in to answer twelve heavy questions that commonly surface about the person and work of Jesus Christ. This volume is promised to be the first in a series bearing the name Vintage Jesus, and offers a Christology that speaks to the newer generations. Driscoll takes the old questions about Jesus, and answers them with the time-honored answers (based on biblical foundations) wrapped in contemporary language and highlighted with up-to-date illustrations.

Driscoll uncompromisingly approaches each question with strong, sound theology without backing down in the way many today would when pressed for an answer. There is no nonsense in the voice of this book, and there is no double talk either. It is refreshing to encounter a preacher whose heart is to reach the modern generation without compromising the gospel in the process.

Taking illustrations from the Bible, from history, and from the ever-looming pop culture in which we live, Driscoll leaves no doubt as to the nature and identity of Christ and what He has done, and will do, in the world. Tagging each chapter with a Q & A session with professor Gerry Breshears helps provide a little depth to the answers in the main part of each chapter. Breshears gives answers to FAQs related to each of the chapters’ main headings.

It is my opinion that the book would hold its own without the chapterly appearance of Dr. Breshears, but having the recurring approval of a respected mentor makes any author feel good. And the FAQ sections only serve to support the answers given by Driscoll.

The book is well-written and engaging, as well as including an extensive note section providing sources for the eggheads among us who want to know where he “got that.” This is an excellent resource in addressing the questions that people have been asking for hundreds of years. When using the book as a resource readers will find the indices of subjects and scripture references handily located in the back. Pastors and theologians will want to add this short book to their libraries and reference it often. Thanks, Mark, for saying what we all want to say, and saying it better than we could, so that we can answer this generation with thoughtful responses.

For those who need to know, here are the chapter titles:

  1. Is Jesus the Only God?

  2. How Human Was Jesus?

  3. How Did People Know Jesus Was Coming?

  4. Why Did Jesus Come to Earth?

  5. Why Did Jesus’ Mom Need to Be a Virgin?

  6. What Did Jesus Accomplish on the Cross?

  7. Did Jesus Rise from Death?

  8. Where Is Jesus Today?

  9. Why Should We Worship Jesus?

  10. What Makes Jesus Superior to Other Saviors?

  11. What Difference Has Jesus Made in History?

  12. What Will Jesus Do upon His Return?

Vintage Jesus is worth your time. It gets four and three-quarters reading glasses from me. (And the cool cover gets 5.)

—Benjamin Potter, March 24, 2008

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