Driscoll, Mark. A Call to Resurgence: Will Christianity Have a Funeral or a Future?.  Tyndale: Carol Stream, IL., 2013.

It’s tempting to believe that the Christian faith is alive and well in our country today. Our politicians talk about God. Our mega-churches are filled. Christian schools dot our landscape. Brace yourself. It’s an illusion. Believe it or not, only 8 percent of Americans profess and practice true evangelical Christian faith. There are more left-handed people than evangelical Christians in America.

In this book, Mark Driscoll delivers a wake-up call for every believer: We are living in a post-Christian culture—a culture fundamentally at odds with faith in Jesus. This is good and bad news. The good news is that God is still working, redeeming people from this spiritual wasteland and inspiring a resurgence of faithful believers. The bad news is that many believers just don’t get it. They continue to gather exclusively into insular tribes, lobbing e-bombs at each other in cyberspace.

Mark’s book is a clarion call for Christians. It’s time to get to work. We can only do this if we unite around Jesus and the essentials found in his Word, while at the same time, appreciating the distinctives within each Christian tribe. Mark shows us how to do just that. This isn’t the time to wait or debate. Join the resurgence. (Official Description)

Learn more or pick up a copy at Amazon.comTyndale, or ChristianBook.com.

My summary and thoughts on the text:

Over the last eight years, I have grown immensely in my faith by learning from Mark Driscoll (listening to his preaching and teaching online). His sermons have brought nourishment to my soul and helped me understand how to be a missionary to my friends and family. So I was eager to get a hold of his latest book A Call to Resurgence (thanks to Tyndale for the advanced e-book version for review). This book is a wakeup call to American Christians: we are no longer living in a Christian nation, and we need to be on mission right now, sharing the gospel with the lost!  Along with giving a wakeup call to comfortable and sleepy Christians, Driscoll helps us the reader understand the present philosophical, theological, and cultural landscape that is America. While targeted toward pastors and younger church leaders, the book is accessible and beneficial for all.

A Call to Resurgence is organized into seven chapters (with two helpful appendices which provide resources for additional reading on the various subjects).  In the first chapter, Driscoll attempts to dispel the myth that America is still largely a Christian nation.  He shows that the reality is the opposite: very few Americans are evangelical (only 8 percent of our country) and this evidenced by considering people’s views on the Bible, the cross, conversion, and faith expressed in belief.  Instead of holding to an evangelical faith, many in America possess a “borrowed faith” or “civil religion,” devoid of true repentance, committed love for God, or any evidence of a godly life. In chapter 2, Driscoll shows how this came about through the influences of Neo-Paganism, the New “Tolerance,” absent or bad fathers, pornography, and cheap Christians both in the church and in the culture. In chapter 3, Driscoll paints a broad-brush picture of the landscape that is American evangelicalism; the author describes our day as a time of “tribalism,” where Christians align themselves with different tribes (emphases, ministry models, and priorities).  He breaks the tribes down into the following categories: 1 Reformed or Arminian; 2. Complementarian or Egalitarian; 3. Continuationist or Cessationist; 4. Missional or Fundamental (Driscoll rightly argues that while some say they do not belong to a tribe, this is a tribe in itself!). What I found especially helpful in this chapter is the fact that Driscoll not only identifies the myriad of tribes that make up American Christianity, but he also lists individuals, churches, and organizations that fall within the various categories.  In chapter 4, Driscoll calls evangelicals to be united with other Christians (tribes) over the fundamentals of the faith; in a Machen-like style, he argues we should unite with each other on 13 basic theses which he calls “border issues for biblically faithful and culturally missional Christianity.”  He believes that if such a unity were to take place, then Christians would be “distinctive without being divisive.”  Chapter 5 is a call for evangelicals to quit bickering over or neglecting the Holy Spirit, but instead pursue a Spirit-empowered ministry.  In chapter 6, Driscoll urges Christians to repent of sinful accommodation to the evil cultural practices which he mentioned back in chapter 2.  Driscoll’s final chapter is a challenge to be on mission, with seven principles to help make this happen.  If you are familiar with Driscoll’s teaching, many of these principles will be common to you: 1. Emphasis on preaching the Word; 2. Love for the Church; 3. Contend and Contextualize with the culture; 4. Be attractional and missional; 5. Receive, reject, redeem items and ideas from culture; 6. Consider the common good; 7. Evangelize through suffering.

I was really impressed with this book and found the way he laid out the various “tribes” within American Christianity to be particularly helpful.  We should listen to Driscoll: let’s all repent of accommodating to the evil ideologies of our culture; let’s repent of bickering with each other instead of working together; let’s get on mission and be unafraid to do great and bold things for the Lord. What our nation needs now more than ever is a united gospel witness, new church plants which are faithful to historic Christianity, and Christians who will suffer and labor together to preach the gospel, no matter what the cost. May the Lord raise up a resurgence of faithful gospel-preaching believers in our generation!

-Tom Schmidt
www.ttschmidt.com

Learn more or pick up a copy at Amazon.comTyndale, or ChristianBook.com.

This is a guest post from Tom Schmidt. Tom is married to Rachel and attended Wheaton College Graduate School (MA in Biblical Exegesis and MA in Historical and Systematic Theology). He currently is being trained to plant a church in the Chicago suburbs with the church he attends (Redeemer Fellowship in St. Charles IL.). His blog and additional writings can be found here: www.ttschmidt.com.