Review of ‘A Call to Resurgence’ by Mark Driscoll [UPDATED]

UPDATE: Mark Driscoll has been accused of plagiarizing parts of A Call to Resurgence. See Jonathan Merritt’s reports here, here, and here. I was unaware of these allegations when I wrote my review. Now, I find them credible, though I would attribute them to sloppiness (or outsourced research) rather than malice. Regardless, I stand by my call for Arminian-Calvinist cooperation in the task of world evangelism. ~GPW, 12/9/13

1414383622.01.LZZ Mark Driscoll, A Call to Resurgence: Will Christianity Have a Funeral or a Future? (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 2013). Hardback / Kindle

I do not often read Mark Driscoll. I am neither a Calvinist nor a complementarian, as he is; and I don’t appreciate his occasionally bombastic statements. But when a copy of his new book showed up in my mail box, I decided to give it a read.

A Call to Resurgence is a heartfelt plea to America’s warring evangelical tribes to stop fighting about issues on which they disagree and to start uniting around issues on which they agree. Or rather, he encourages them to stop letting secondary doctrinal disputes get in the way of their primary evangelical mission. Those secondary doctrinal disputes include the debates between Calvinists and Arminians, between complementarians and evangelicals, between continuationists and cessationists, and between what he calls “missional” and “fundamental”—which is largely a debate about missiological strategy.

The reason for this heartfelt plea is twofold: First, one can be an evangelical Christian and belong to a mix-and-match of theological tribes. (Driscoll describes himself as Calvinist, complementarian, continuationist, and missional.) Second, North American culture is changing rapidly, and evangelical tribes need to stick together, both for survival and for mission.

A Call to Resurgence is a good book, though not a great one. I admire Driscoll as a church planter who has sown the seeds of the gospel in the very hard spiritual ground of Seattle, Washington. Though I am an Arminian, egalitarian, Pentecostal personally, I recognize Driscoll as a fellow evangelical and colaborer in the gospel. I found his social analysis and historical understanding to be a bit thin. But—and this is more important—his heart is in the right place. Evangelical Christians of various stripes shouldn’t necessarily dispense with their doctrinal distinctives, but they strive for unity, emphasizing their agreements (which are central) over their disagreements (which are peripheral).

In the Great Awakening, John and Charles Wesley worked with George Whitefield in planting and watering the seeds of the gospel, and God made those seeds grow. As I read it, A Call to Resurgence is a plea for similar cooperation today. How can we who disagree with Driscoll not agree with his request, and this despite our disagreements?

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