July 18, 2008
New Christians VS. Vintage Jesus (Part 3)
Mark Driscoll responds.
I want to thank Chad Hall for taking the time to read the book and giving me some helpful feedback in his review. I also appreciate the opportunity to respond and will seek to do so graciously.
(Read Chad Hall's review here.)
First, the accusation that I am humble is scandalous. I have said some things over the years that I regret. Meditating on the fact that God opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble, God shook me deeply. Today I am, as a friend says, a proud man pursuing humility by the grace of God. I appreciate Chad's insight that humility is knowing one's place in God's plan because I find it helpful and truthful.
Second, as a loving push back, I would say that my goal in the book was not to say anything new, but rather to say things that are timeless in timely ways. Admittedly, the person who graduated from seminary ten years ago and is now in ministry like Chad, might not resonate as deeply with Vintage Jesus as the twenty-something who is as lost as Dick Cheney in the woods - which was the primary audience I had in mind when I wrote. The feedback I am getting from younger, less theologically trained people is very encouraging and the sales of the book to young folks have remained strong by God's grace.
Third, the book is the first in an ongoing series and establishes the big anchor concepts of our faith that will be explored in greater detail in forthcoming books. All of them can be found at www.relit.org and yes, that is a shameless advertising plug. The next in the series is Death By Love, which is a series of pastoral letters to people I know and love explaining how twelve aspects of the atonement apply to them. So, for example, the expiation chapter is a letter to a dear female friend who was raped. The propitiation chapter is written to a suicidal non-Christian who molested a child and was convicted in court. My guess is that the style and stories will provide a glimpse into the pain of pastoral ministry and may be more what Chad was hoping for. I will make sure to send him a copy.
Fourth, I am always looking to be a better servant of Jesus. So, without being trite, the review is helpful. I'm publishing six books this year alone along with a lot of articles in addition to pastoral ministry, church planting, raising five kids, and more, and Chad has helped me remember to do my best with every project and for that I am grateful. In going back over Vintage Jesus, I still believe it is a great book that packs a ton into a fun and readable format. But I also see how I could have served people even better, and I aspire to so in future books. In the meantime, I'll be drinking flat Coke for Jesus and rejoicing in the fact that at least the truth was present in Vintage Jesus as it gives the Holy Spirit something to work with.