It’s tempting to believe that the Christian faith is alive and well in our country today. Our politicians talk about God. Our mega-churches are filled. Christian schools dot our landscape. Brace yourself. It’s an illusion. Believe it or not, only 8 percent of Americans profess and practice true evangelical Christian faith. There are more left-handed people than evangelical Christians in America.
In this book, Mark Driscoll delivers a wake-up call for every believer: We are living in a post-Christian culture—a culture fundamentally at odds with faith in Jesus. This is good and bad news. The good news is that God is still working, redeeming people from this spiritual wasteland and inspiring a resurgence of faithful believers. The bad news is that many believers just don’t get it. They continue to gather exclusively into insular tribes, lobbing e-bombs at each other in cyberspace.
Mark’s book is a clarion call for Christians. It’s time to get to work. We can only do this if we unite around Jesus and the essentials found in his Word, while at the same time, appreciating the distinctives within each Christian tribe. Mark shows us how to do just that. This isn’t the time to wait or debate. Join the resurgence.
- A FUTURE over a FUNERAL
Mark Driscoll’s latest book A CALL TO RESURGENCE is a helpful manual for church leaders and individuals hoping to get a sociological and theological grasp of the purpose and place of the Church, especially in the Western world. He emphasizes the concept of tribes and tribalism in a very categorical way that may serve as helpful to many, though not every reader would agree with some of the placements of leaders and tribes.
What always helps with Driscoll’s books are his stories which are filled with stark honesty, shocking humor, and redemptive lessons. A CALL TO RESURGENCE is a timely book for the 21st century church that calls followers of Jesus out of religiosity and into battle.
One standout story he tells is about the planting of Mars Hill Portland, where a group of protestors showed up to vandalize and scandalize the congregation. In response, the church leaders loved on the opposition, shared an interview on NPR with an LGBT leader, and forged relationships with the community that led to many lives transformed by Jesus.
Will Christianity have a future or a funeral? Lord willing, the future will be filled with Gospel-centered, resurrected hope. Readers of Driscoll’s previous books like Doctrine, Vintage Church and Vintage Jesus, and Confessions of A Reformissional Rev will still enjoy reading A CALL TO RESURGENCE.
In the audio version of A CALL TO RESURGENCE, the reader mispronounces Calvary (Cavalry) Chapel over and over again, which drives me nuts. But this is just a pet peeve. I would have much rather heard Pastor Mark’s voice on the audiobook, simply because his voice is distinct in not just what he has to say, but HOW URGENTLY he says it.
- How do I make this one 6 stars?
This review, by Dr. Nicholson, has been provided courtesy of Desert Bible Institute www.desertbibleinstitute.com.
After listening to Mark Driscoll’s newest book, A Call to Resurgence, I feel like I just went through a week of seminar…on fast forward…uphill. I would gladly tell you what Driscoll talks about if only I could figure out what he left out. A Call to Resurgence is a fast paced, insightful, straight-forward work that doesn’t bother to pull any punches. In his introduction, Driscoll sums this up by saying that there are two primary groups that will listen to his book: those who agree with him on some level and those who are looking to cast stones. Being a good, considerate Christian, he has piled up said stones for the second group’s convenience.
Driscoll presents his well-researched, well thought-out points in his patent off-the-cuff sarcastic style. This will likely leave the listeners thinking, laughing, or grinding their teeth all depending on how close they are to Drisoll’s position on a myriad of biblical, doctrinal, and missional topics. Regardless of what side of each of these issues you fall on, the arguments presented are not easily waved away. Driscoll sets up solid arguments with far-reaching, real-life examples coupled with scholarly proof. Feel free to dislike what he has to say; however, if listeners can set aside their pre-conceived notions and biases for a few hours they will find that Driscoll makes some very valid, if somewhat disturbing, observations about both the church and the direction of Christianity today.
One of the areas that Driscoll addresses that was particularly beneficial was the idea of “tribes”. He talks about what we believe and why we believe it. I have always found myself shying away from classification since I felt it might limit me or stymie my spiritual growth in some way. After listening to what Driscoll shared though, I realized that we need to know what we’re not to know what we are. Additionally, it is difficult (if not impossible) to explain what you believe unless you know what beliefs are out there. It’s a little like explaining to someone who has been blind since birth what the color blue is. With no basis of comparison, explanation is largely an exercise in futility.
A secondary area that I found engaging was the author’s detailed analysis of various doctrines and how they are viewed by the various “tribes” of the Christian faith. I have to admit that I was so impressed with this section that I went out and purchased a hardcover of his book Doctrine: What Christians Should Believe. I did this primarily because I wanted to hear even more information it greater detail. I have to admit that I also did this to slow him down. In listening to this section, it felt like the theological equivalent of putting instant milk into condensed soup and warming it up in a microwave. If had gone through in any more quickly his flux capacitor would have engaged and he would have gone back in time! I’m not sure if this is a criticism or my awe at the fact that he could cram that much information into so little space so quickly. Airline passengers around the world grow green with envy at his professional alacrity as well speak. If only they could do physically what he does verbally, they could pack all the inventory of their local super Wal-Mart into a carry-on bag.
A final area that was not only useful but highly scholarly was Driscoll’s fairly lengthy appendix on church history. I found it useful and enlightening to quickly trace where many of the roots of ideas and values in many American “tribes” came from. It made me wonder in fact if they even know. As a pastor of an independent, non-denominational church, I find myself working in the midst of churches ranging from charismatics to fundamentalists. It was useful to see how coming out of the same place, historically speaking, these churched ended up where they are. It was enlightening to see the predominate points that we all agree as well as the secondary points that we differ on. Not only was this engaging from an academic sense, but also it gave me some tools for crossing the imagined boundaries that exist between brothers and sisters within the faith community.
Mike Chamberlain did a great job of narrating this book. He had a great sense of pacing, tone, and timing. At one point I actually stopped the recording to check that it wasn’t the author doing the narrating: always a good sign. I look forward to hearing more voice-work done by Chamberlain. The Christian community needs more understandable, talented speakers to help share God’s Word.
Dr. Nicholson reviews academic, Christian living, and fiction books for a variety of publishers in an array of formats. He is never paid for any of his reviews. He writes these strictly as a courtesy to his students at Desert bible Institute and for any other readers that might find his insights valuable. For more reviews or information, visit Dr. Nicholson’s blog at drtnicholson.wordpress.com.
A copy of the book was generously offered to Dr. Nicholson by christianaudio.com in exchange for this unbiased review.
- Excellent book
If you are a pastor or leader of a Christian Church - you should read this book. Driscoll has been the lead pastor of Mars Hill Church Seattle for approx 20 years, from planting the church in 1995 with a handful of people to now having 16,000 people in attendance in their multi-site campuses and millions of sermon and podcasts downloaded annually, as well as over 500 church plants in the USA along and almost as many outside the US, he certainly seems to have the runs on the board and his experience alone makes him worth reading.
Driscoll works from his experiences and observations of his home town Seattle which is a culture making hub for the US and then also most of the Western world, plus he combines his observations and conversations with dozens of other pastors and conferences around the world. From this he talks about the past, present, and possible future of the way Christianity is presented to the world.
He also helps us understand tribalism and what tribe we belong to, but goes to lengths to urge all the tribes to work together for the sake of the gospel and the advancing of the Kingdom of God, rather than fighting between ourselves over secondary issues.
The book is written in Driscoll's typical no-holds barred style, it is raw and honest and not just about his own personal beliefs (although he does tell what he believes). There is a lot of ground covered in this book. I will be going back and re-reading it over and over.
I think you, like me will get a lot out of this.
One criticism of this audio book version was that the MP3 files showed up on my mp3 device in alphabetical order because the file numbers were written rather than numbered (e.g. "one" instead of "1"), this was very frustrating as I had to keep stopping what I was doing and search for the correct file to listen to next.
I would also have liked to have heard the book narrated by the author. A lot was lost in the voice inflections, emphasis and timings of what was said.
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- Not a Book You Write to Gain the Mass's Love
I liked this book. Many will not. It will insult many. It will make you think. It's the proverbial "kind in the pants".
First of all, here are my biases and what you should know about me as a reviewer. I like Driscoll. His preaching has had a huge, huge impact on my life. Is he right about everything? No. Neither am I or you. I hope his critics realize that Mark has accomplished a lot of amazing things. He's a passionate man who loves Jesus fiercely. Please consider the good about him before you tear apart the one thing you dislike about him. He's helped a lot of people. Lastly, I'm not the smartest person who will review this book. I write this review with the viewpoint of an ordinary layman.
What I Like About A Call to Resurgence:
1. It's straightforward. In typical fashion, Driscoll doesn't beat around the bush. You don't have to play mind games to figure out what he is really trying to say.
2. It's raw, it's honest. As someone who is very in tune with his time, Mark presents a lot of insight into where Christianity is at today. He talks about the cost of following Jesus. This isn't a light, feel-good read. Yet neither is it a `sky is falling' depression-inducing read.
3. It's informative, it's eye-opening. While I haven't been living under a rock, it's good for me to hear things about the world from someone with a perspective like this. I think Mark has a lot of wisdom. I appreciated his breakdown of different things that Christians believe, and his quick rundown of some significant events/people in the history of Christianity.
4. This book covers a lot of stuff! If you read this book you are likely to learn something!
5. I didn't feel like this book was all about what Mark believes. He presents a lot of information without running a commentary on everything.
6. Mark doesn't shy away from talking about hard things, things that give his critics rocks to throw at him. Actually, this time he's "piled them for your convenience".
7. The book's about God's glory, not making the church look awesome to the world.
What I'm Not Sure About This Book:
Why all this tribal talk? While I found the explanation of all these different Christian groups interesting, I'm not sure what exactly the point of figuring out our tribe really serves. He spends a heap of time explaining what different Christians believe, explaining their strong and weak points, etc. Maybe it's just a matter of awareness. I'm not sure. It didn't really feel like a call to believe everything he does.
All in all, this is an informative book worth your time. Not a must read, but a great read none the less. The audiobook version of this book is fantastically done.
Jesus loves you, it's true.
I recieved a complementary audio copy of this book for review purposes courtesy of christianaudio.com.
Originally published at papermovementblog.wordpress.com
- Not My Cup of Tea
I didn't enjoy this at all, and in fact skipped a lot of it as I found it was just a rant, and not a interesting one. There are a lot of survey results and statistics in the beginning which I've heard before and some of it seemed quite old information. I did wonder at times who this is aimed at as sometimes it was very basic, and at other times quite theological. The narrator was easy to understand and suited this audiobook, delivering it in the appropriate manner. I personally found the author came across as someone who wanted to condemn people for not believing the same as him, and not someone who I would want to have a friendship with whilst living out my spiritual journey. I think if you enjoy Mark Driscoll's books and preaching this is definitely for you. If however you are like me and don't enjoy statistics or theology, give it miss. Thanks to christianaudio.com Reviewer's Program for the free copy.
- Bold and timely words from Driscoll
Mark Driscoll’s new book A Call to Resurgence: Will Christianity Have a Funeral or a Future? releases today. Driscoll, no stranger to controversy, will certainly raise some new hullabaloo with this no-holds-barred book. In the spirit of the Old Testament prophets, he goes for the jugular and doesn’t let go. Also in the spirit of the prophets, however, this resurgence call is not a call to relevance or restoration but to fidelity. What do we know to be true? Will we stick to our guns? Will we stay on mission or will we be distracted by secondary issues?
He picks a few fights as he muses about the future of the Evangelical Christianity in America. In the first chapter he reiterates the sentiments of a particularly controversial tweet about Barak Obama from earlier this year. Then he proceeds to call the last inauguration of Obama, “the funeral of Christendom in America.” Does Driscoll lament this religious sea change? Not really. Actually, he seems to celebrate it—now the gloves are off, and the pretenses are dropped.
This truly isn’t a book about politics, as Driscoll himself points out, and he doesn’t veer into the political for the rest of the book. Rather, it’s a reality check. It’s a call to action, and a call to mission. Driscoll speaks as a man who has been ministering on the messy front lines of the post-Christian Pacific Northwest. Now as the rest of America trends that direction his message is, “quit mourning the Moral Majority and start evangelizing.” I found his message to be timely and refreshing. His writing style is direct, raw, and even very funny at times. The overall tone is positive and hopeful, if you can imagine that.
He spends a good portion of the book examining the cultural factors that led to our current religious climate. He also challenges the reader to really define their theological and doctrinal leanings. At first I found this odd considering this is a book about being outward focused and missional. But you have to know your starting place before you can move forward. Also, the whole point is unity on the fundamentals, which Driscoll lines out using the very apt analogy of “state borders” and “national borders.” For example, the bodily resurrection of Christ is a “national border,” while the so-called charismatic gifts are a “state border.” Christians must stand together despite our minor differences, or we will fall.
This book is all-around excellent, and I would put it on a required reading list for anyone in vocational ministry. This message needs to be heard. There are a couple of particularly outstanding sections: the chapter on the Holy Spirit and the chapter on repentance are both incredible. When Driscoll lines out “Seven Principles for Resurgence” in the final chapter, he inspires hope in such a way that it reminded me why the gospel is so exciting in the first place.
As a bonus, Driscoll gives an excellent overview of later church history (Protestant Reformation to today) as an appendix to the book. Maybe he’ll write a whole book on church history in the future? That would be a book on church history I would actually read.
Mike Chamberlain does an adequate, but not outstanding job narrating the audiobook version.
As I finished this book, I felt ready to face this brave new world knowing that what it really needs is Christ. And it’s the Church’s job to take Christ to the culture.
Please Note: This audiobook was gifted as a part of the Christianaudio Reviewers Program in exchange for my unbiased review of this work. This has in no way influenced my opinion or review of this work.
- wealth of information and insight
One of the lessons that I have learned about listening to non-fiction audio books is that I will always be distracted, no matter how good the book. It could be the most fascinating book that I have ever listened to, or it could be the most boring monotonous book in existence, but I will be distracted. At some point while listening, I will catch myself thinking about something other than what this audio book is saying to me. With some books this happens more often than with others.
But I have found that one of the most telling attributes of an audio book is the form of my distraction, not just how often I am distracted. With some audio books I find myself contemplating supper or a test that I need to grade, but with other audio books, I find that my mind has latched onto a thought or concept that is being discussed in the book and my brain must travel down that path, even though the voice talent has continued reading.
With Christian Audio's version of A Call to Resurgence: Will Christianity Have a Funeral or a Future by Mark Driscoll my mind was constantly trailing off down a thought or concept presented by the author. For example, the chapter dealing with "tribalism" was quite enlightening. Especially when Pastor Driscoll discussed these tribes through the illustration of national borders and local boundaries. Even though we evangelical Christians might sort ourselves out into different "tribes" there is an importance is understanding and operating with the reality that there are others in our same "country."
What I found even more fascinating were his explanations regarding the differences between Christendom and Christianity. This was an important distinction that it had never occurred to me to make, but once the differences had been clarified, I wasn't quite sure how I had missed it. I believe that distinguishing Christendom and Christianity will prove to be an invaluable tool as we attempt to navigate the modern religious and political scene, not only here in America, but across the globe.
This book was an absolutely worth-while read, and I would recommend it to anyone. I will most likely have to purchase a hard copy of this book so I can take my time and contemplate each chapter a bit more in-depth.
- Mark Driscoll is never Boring!
One thing that you can say about Mark Driscoll is he is never controversial!
That is one sentence you will never hear, unless like me, someone is being sarcastic.
Driscoll's writings and sermons always have a boldness that melts one person’s heart while angering another. This book is no exception.
In, "A Call to Resurgence", Mark calls the church out and gives us a well deserved kick in the pants. For too many years we have allowed the world to march off a cliff, as we stand on the side lines and complain about it. Yes, Jesus said we will be persecuted, but that does not give us an excuse to let the world go to hell because we got our feelings hurt.
My favorite section was concerning tribes. He lists the many tribes we are associated with. Even if you do not like using labels, each one of us fits into one or more categories. Because of this, we are like clubs that do not allow others in or we never try to reach out.
Whether we wear a three-piece suit and use Greek words every other sentence or we have a soul patch and use the word “Dude” way to often, Mark has something to say to you.
Mark shows us that our belief systems are understandable, but we should not use them to stop us from sharing the Gospel with the world. We do have a set of doctrines that we must believe to be Christian, but the secondary doctrines should not deter us from working with others to bring people to the knowledge of the savior.
This book was a great read. Never boring, Mark shows us our cultural weakness, but follows it up with instructions on how to overcome them.
The narration was great. I have heard Mike Chamberlain read a couple of fiction books before but never a Christian book. As usual he never disappoints.
I recommend this audiobook to everyone, believer or not, and give it 5 out of 5 stars.
I enjoyed this book courtesy of the Christian Audio review program at http://christianaudio.com and received the audio book, free of charge, from ChristianAudio.com and Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.
- Wake Up Call!
Mark Discoll never backs away from saying the hard things in his sermons or his books. He continues with A Call to Resurgence. Mark is aiming to explain why our 'feel good' religions are nothing more than that. They are not saving faiths. Mark explains that the true Christian culture is in the minority now and the culture is believing things that Jesus did not teach. It's a great book. My only complaint is that I wish Mark had narrated the audiobook.
This review made possible by the christianaudio.com reviewers program.