I find myself in a weird position when deciding what good to keep and what bad to leave from Pastor Mark Driscoll. I have checked out several of his books and even have a couple up on my library shelves. It’s not that he’s a terrible writer, he’s actually better than most, but it’s the arrangement that I think messes with me when it comes to reading his books. Many, not all, of his books are from popular sermon series that he has done; Real Marriage, Doctrine, Religion Saves, Vintage Jesus, and his most recent work, Who do you think you are? I’m all for a great sermon series, some even turn out to be great as written material but I’m not sure that Driscoll’s recent work needed a full 227 pages to get its point across.
The point of this book as Driscoll tells us is, “Dedicated to helping you discover the power and joy that is found only in an identity founded and sustained in and by Jesus. My prayer is that you’ll find the answer to ‘Who am I?’ in Christ, who is the I AM.” (14)
The basis of the material rests on Ephesians and it’s study of those who find their identity in christ and what that means in everyday life. Driscoll does a superb job to take deep theological truths and make them applicable to people in the modern world and in a variety of ways. For example when Driscoll says, “It is helpful to understand that though we are positional righteous before god in Christ (we have been saved), we may also struggle with sin because we are being made new and like Christ daily (are being saved). But we have hope, as Christians, that one day we will be perfect like Christ (shall be saved). The best part is, the past, present. and future work of salvation in our lives is all the work of Christ in us.”. (69)
Here Driscoll explains the sometimes mysterious truth that we live in the already but not yet. We are already justified but not yet glorified. We are united to Christ but we do not yet have the fulness of that relationship. In this area I believe that this book shines. Making the word of God come alive for the reader of his books.
The great thing about Driscoll is that he is tenacious for teaching the word of God in an unforgettable way. 15 chapters lay out our full identity in Christ and what that means for our lives. He does not leave us with empty text on a page but calls us to action and prayer knowing that our full identity is not found in the shifting cultures of the world but in the very heart of Christ. Driscoll battles the current of modern-day christianity by pursuing truth as a basis for our identities. Mark rests his case in the cross of Christ which is the foundation of our identity.
“In Christ, while we have great diversity, we ought to live in even greater unity because how we do life is far less important than how Jesus has reconciles us to God and one another. I encourage you to each and every day pray and contend for the unity that you have and that is found in Christ Jesus.” (93)
There was some material that I found unnecessary, as it was a restating of previous truths. Not that Driscoll was clarifying a hard truth but he was stating in different terms that which he had already stated. In a sermon I get this tactic, but in a book I don’t think it makes much sense to keep repeating yourself to make a point. Chapter 7, I am Reconciled, and Chapter 12, I am Forgiven could have been merged because in order to have one it takes the other. In order to be reconciled to God we first need to be forgiven. The two concepts go together. There were other examples of this but I will spare all the technical details of every occurrence this happens. If I were to do so, every book would be guilty of this point.
Overall this book was a helpful reminder to the believer of where our foundation lies and a sign that points to our union with Christ. I encourage all who are struggling with who they are to pick up this book and take an honest look in the mirror and then fall on your face and rejoice that do not have to build our own identity, that has already been accomplished for us.
Author: Mark Driscoll
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (2013)