Visiting Mars Hill Church in Seattle as a journalist can be a jarring experience. The writer expects to meet the Mark Driscoll whose confrontational style has made him a hero in some evangelical circles and a pariah in others. Indeed, Mars Hill members will go to the mat to defend their larger-than-life pastor against critics. And Driscoll will not feel the need to yield. Journalists looking for colorful copy will find it. Who would Jesus smack down? There are so many deserving targets, we learn, he wouldn't know where to begin.
But you meet another Mark Driscoll when you begin to spend more time around the people affected by his ministry. They don't always agree with him and cringe when he says things they know he will later regret. Yet it seems God has used his willingness to speak directly about the Bible and sin to deepen their love for Jesus Christ and their resolve to resist Satan's snares.
Death by Love is a book that might stir theological controversy, but it probably won't attract The New York Times's attention. Here we see Driscoll's pastoral side as he offers letters on the Atonement to friends, family, and acquaintances. The book is the second in the Re:Lit series with Crossway, which released Vintage Jesus in February 2008 and plans to publish Vintage Church at the end of January. Like Death by Love, both books were coauthored with Western Seminary theology professor Gerry Breshears.
Driscoll and Breshears aim their book at the popular level, but they do not shy away from using technical terminology. They believe all Christians should understand the meaning of words such as propitiation (Rom. 3:25; Heb. 2:17; 1 John 2:2, 4:10), because the cross is "at the crux of all that it means to think and live like Jesus." ...