Sunday, March 2, 2008

Mark Driscoll's Vintage Jesus: First Impressions

Mark Driscoll is a troublemaker. He talks about drinking beer, jokes that skeptics in Jesus' time thought the Virgin Mary was probably "knocking boots in the backseat of a car with some guy at the prom," and he once called on audience members who don't own TVs to repent. He is irreverent, at times inappropriate, and most importantly: awesome.

I've only just gotten finished with the first chapter of the book, but my blogmates thought it might be a good idea for me to interact with the book since they're busy with getting their Masters' degrees and I just sit and listen to records all day long.

From a theological perspective, the first chapter is as straightforward and orthodox as any apologist could ask for. In contrast to his other emergent-type peers (who think skepticism and "questioning everything" should rule the day), Driscoll thinks it's cool to be orthodox and embrace the classical/creedal views of Jesus. The first chapter is, essentially, a defense of the divinity of Jesus. Driscoll offers ten reasons why we should believe that Jesus was/is God. There are plenty of nuggets and humorous expressions Driscoll chooses to employ.

Here's Driscoll attempting to explain Scientology's view of Jesus:
According to Scientology, Jesus is an "implant" forced upon a Thetan about a million years ago. I would explain that position more thoroughly but I have never smoked weed or done any drugs; subsequently, I apparently lack the imagination to understand a religion started by a science fiction writer that has unleashed Tom Crazy Cruise on the world as Billy Graham's evil doppelganger.

One of Driscoll's ten arguments for the Divinity of Christ is His sinlessness. To bolster the argument, Driscoll recounts his attempt to chronicle claims of sinlessness by religious leaders throughout history (he found no credible claims, by the way):

To see if anyone has ever claimed to be sinless, I actually did a Google search for "sinless" only to find that there is a strip club by the same name. That pretty much sums up my point that the world is filled with sin.

Very nice, Mark. Very nice.

Though I know there are Reformed Christians out there conservative enough to have already decided (based on what I've written here) that they don't want to have anything to do with Driscoll (this review comes to mind), I actually find his conversational style very refreshing. Maybe reading systematic theologies until my eyes bleed isn't the best thing to do, so now I'm burned out on eating steak and no dessert. Truthfully, however, this is the way that I normally talk, and Driscoll's style reflects my own, so I enjoy it a great deal. I actually think that this book will appeal to those emergent-types who like edgy and irreverent, and if that means I can get those around me who think that the deity of Christ is a secondary issue, then I'm all for it. It will also, however, appeal to people like you and I, who think that theology is really important!

Stylistically, one thing which I appreciate is that, rather than put his Bible-references within the text, he primarily cites Bible verses with endnotes. This probably sounds like an awful idea to your average Reformed theologian, but it means that you can read the book and then, if you wonder about his source for something he says, you can look it up in the endnotes. Will anyone deny that reading a page of theology that is constantly broken up with bracketed Bible verses can start to drive you crazy?

With chapter one out of the way, I'm looking forward to working my way through the rest of the book. Great, now you all think I'm a liberal.


  1. We do not think you are a liberal, maybe a little wierd, but not a liberal.

    I am, however, still trying to figure out what the picture of the guy with the mullet has to do with anything you said.

  2. That is a picture of Mark Driscoll!


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