The Best Recent Book I’ve Seen on the Atonement
I’ve just started reading Mark Driscoll’s book, Death by Love. It’s brilliant – a definite ‘must read!’
Each of the book’s twelve chapters deals with an aspect of what Christ accomplished for us on the cross. That would be enough to make the book worth the price for me, but what makes it even better is that Mark has tied each dimension of the cross to a real life problem in the experience of someone he knows personally. After briefly introducing the person and explaining their life situation, the rest of each chapter is a letter to that person explaining how the death of Jesus speaks into their particular problem.
The first chapter is called: “Demons are tormenting me”: Jesus is Katie’s Christus Victor. Mark begins by outlining Katie’s story: During her teenage years, she became involved in a series of destructive relationships. Despite knowing what was going on, her father did nothing to intervene. Later Katie came to Christ, but she still struggles with demonic voices telling her she is worthless.
Mark includes a pastoral letter to Katie, which begins: “Dear Katie, I want to begin this letter by restating the deep love that my wife and I have for you and your family.” Mark then explains how Christ has fought for Katie, and now calls her to join Him in His battle for her life. “Katie, it is time for you to learn how Jesus has fought for you, and He is now calling you to fight with Him for your own life and for the life of your children. Because you belong to Jesus, you have all the authority to rebuke and reject these evil influences on your life.”
Death by Love is honest, insightful, compelling, and well written. Altogether, it’s the best recent book I’ve seen on the atonement. In case I’ve not yet persuaded you to get this book, other chapters include: “Lust is my God”: Jesus is Thomas’s Redemption, “My wife slept with my friend”: Jesus is Luke’s New Covenant Sacrifice, “My dad used to beat me”: Jesus is Bill’s Propitiation, “He raped me”: Jesus is Mary’s Expiation, “My wife has a brain tumor”: Jesus is Caleb’s Christus Exemplar.
Thanks Mark, for this great book, for championing a robust doctrine of the atonement at a time when this most precious doctrine is under attack, and for showing how what Jesus did on the cross can transform the darkest and hardest circumstances of life.
Date Posted: November 8th, 2009