A Call To Resurgence is not a book for spiritual wimps, nor is it suitable for reading a few pages in an attempt to induce sleep. Mark Driscoll’s writing style is acidic, perhaps even snarky, as he delivers a powerful wake-up call. The image Driscoll paints of Christendom in the United States is disturbing and heartbreaking. The percentage of evangelicals is shrinking while many churches are unaware of their plight.
Driscoll offers this insight, “Most Christians are sheltered within their own groups and are too busy arguing with other Christians to notice the sad state of Christianity in a broader sense.” (page 34) He explains that evangelical Christianity is divided among various tribes and provides his description of what those tribes believe. Christendom is splintered when we agree on key doctrines yet disagree on secondary issues. Appendix B is a well-organized bibliography keyed to those secondary issues. Driscoll’s summary chart and humorous group descriptions (pages 112-113) should help us stop and think about the pettiness.
Is tribe mentality harmful? Driscoll explains, “We aren’t one big group anymore with one key leader. We live and worship in tribes…because tribes have a tendency to circle the wagons and fight against one another rather than mobilize together for growth, we’ve unknowingly contributed to the rapid demise of Christendom in America.” (page 86)
Chapter 4 provides a summary of 13 “border issues for biblically faithful and culturally missional Christianity.” Driscoll defines each doctrine then lists related secondary issues. This chapter represents an opportunity for a slow read with many stops for deep thought.
Chapter 5 is teaching on the Holy Spirit. Driscoll states, “…much of the debate and division among tribes is in regard to the person and work of the Holy Spirit.” (page 154). He includes an excellent definition of what it means for a believer to be “empowered by the Spirit”, and his explanation (page 162) explaining how believers grieve the Holy Spirit brings a practical clarity to Paul’s admonition in Ephesians 4:30.
Now that we know there is a problem in Christendom, what next? In Chapter 7 Driscoll provides his solution. He does not offer a defined methodology, but a broad set of biblical principles that have worked in his church in Seattle, and can be adapted for use in other places. Resurgence starts with my willingness to be used by God as a “real, authentic witness.” I have Driscoll’s definition (page 229) highlighted and tagged, with plans to return to it often.
A Call To Resurgence is a book for thinking believers. It was not an easy read, and I had to reread several parts. I would advise tackling this book with a highlighter and sticky tabs in hand to mark areas of interest and sections to revisit.
Sometimes believers need a kick in the slats to get involved, stay involved, and act like the salt and light God intended us to be. In this book Driscoll provides a ready reference of quotable material that will make the point while deflecting any resulting flack Driscoll’s way. He admits in the first chapter he has conveniently piled rocks for his critics to throw.
Note – Tyndale House Publishers provided a complimentary copy of A Call To Resurgence to facilitate this review.