JRF’s #38 – Vintage Jesus by Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshears

Our community group read through this book together over the last few months.  I had previously read it when it was first published and had enjoyed it, so I was looking forward to reviewing it with the group.  Overall I would say the experience was good.  The simple truths about Jesus’ nature, message, work, and impact are explored and explained in blunt Driscoll style.  It was refreshing to meditate on the uniqueness and glory of the God/Man.  In addition it was thrilling to see some in the group discover different truths, perspectives and implications about Christ for the first time.

I used to be one of those guys who would rush to Driscoll’s defense whenever his unorthodox methodology was under attack (which is often).  I find myself compelled to defend Driscoll less and less these days.

When I read Vintage Jesus as a young youth pastor, I delighted in the funny and shocking stories Driscoll uses to illustrate his points (“the kids will think I’m cool when I use this one!”).  I won’t go into detail describing these illustrations, that would make me guilty of the same borderline filthy talk that I am accusing him of.  Suffice it to say that I believe his points could have been made without the explicit details of child sexual abuse, MTV, details of the contents of supermarket magazine racks, and postulations about Jesus farting with his disciples.  I know that Driscoll would (and has) said that he is just trying to make the timeless truths of Scripture relevant to the wicked culture in which we live, however the longer I walk with the Lord, the more I see that the purpose of God’s condescending revelation of Himself is not to drag Him down to our level but to call us up to His.  The ultimate purpose of the incarnation was not for Christ to become more like us, or even more palpable to us, it was for Him to make a way for us to know Him, be known by Him and be conformed to His likeness.  The revelation of Christ’s light shows us the depth of our darkness and displays the true relevance and irrelevance of all else.  Driscoll seems to be trying to illustrate the brightness of Christ’s light by detailing more of our darkness – effective up to a point but ultimately counterproductive in my opinion.  For example, to end the book with a reference to Sean “Puffy” Combs instead of exalting the glorious Risen Christ about whom this book is about is a dumb distraction at best.

Perhaps the reason Driscoll’s crassness so clearly bothered me this time around is that “coarse jesting” is a sin with which I am increasingly being convicted of in my own life.

With that rather large caveat (which could probably be applied to most of Driscoll’s ministry, although he has seemed to tone things down the older he gets) I would recommend this book to you for the purpose of expanding your understanding and awe of the person and work of the One King to whom every knee will eventually bow.

About JRF 157 Articles
A broken sinner saved by the gracious work of Jesus Christ. Husband to the greatest woman of all time. Seriously. Father of 4. I enjoy surfing, SCUBA, basketball, and exploring. I also like to read and write and want to get better at both.

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