A Review: Death by Love Part 3

Death By Love: Letters From the Cross

By Mark Driscoll & Gerry Breshears

Driscoll, Mark, and Gerry Breshears. Death By Love: Letters From the Cross. Wheaton , Ill.: Crossway Books, 2008.

Mark Driscoll is the founding pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, one of the fastest-growing churches in America. He is president of the Acts 29 Church Planting Network and leads the Resurgence Missional Theology Cooperative.

Gerry Breshears is professor of theology and chairman of the division of biblical and theological studies at Western Seminary. He and Driscoll also coauthored Vintage Jesus.”[1]


Chapter Five: Justification

The character of this chapter is John, He has committed gross sin with the opposite sex.  He does not understand his justification through the cross of Christ.  Doctrinally Driscoll covers his bases with reviving a focus on the inability of man to fulfill the law.  The conclusion of this is “Total Depravity” and requires a sacrifice to atone for the gross violation of God’s law.  Driscoll points out the reality of Justification through Christ, “You are justified by grace alone, which means that there is absolutely nothing that you can do to contribute to your justification.  Rather, when Jesus said, “It is finished” on the cross, he was declaring that all that needed to be done for your justification was completed in him.”[2] John believes that he should die because of what he has done.  The affects of his sinful actions are clear by the ostracization of his close family, church, and general society.  Two passages that Driscoll illuminates for “John” to read are Romans 3:21-31, and Luke 18:9-14.[3] In response to his actions John has seen the physical and spiritual reality of the sin in his life.  Driscoll correctly responds with, “I know that you have given serious consideration to killing yourself in light of what you have done.  The truth is that what you have done is worthy of death.  But the good news is that Jesus has already died for your sins.  As a result, you can now put your sins to death by his power and live a new life as a new man.  Scripture further states that Jesus also rose from death for your justification and, as a result, is alive today and ready to hear from you, speak to you, and walk with you through the rest of your life and into eternity as not only your judge but also as your justifier (Rom 4:25)”[4] Jesus Christ, as Driscoll clearly shows is the only justifier for our sin.  We can only respond in humility and worship of a Holy God that would sacrifice His only Son, Jesus Christ, as the justification that allows us to attain eternal life in communion with God.  I appreciated this chapter but would suggest further study in the area of justification.[5]

Death by Love

Chapter Six: Propitiation

Bill the character portrayed in this chapter was beat as a child by his father.  He struggles with how Jesus Christ through the cross is the propitiation for our sins.  Propitiation is “How Jesus diverts the active wrath of our rightfully angry God from us so that we are loved and not hated.”[6] Driscoll, First, deals with the character of God the Father.  Second, he presents the wrath of God in Scripture.  The sheer amount of Scriptural references in this chapter show the high level of reverence and authority placed on Scripture by Driscoll.  This chapter does not shy away from discussing the wrath of God in detail.  When discussing 1 John 4:10 Driscoll says, “It states that rather than seeing the cross as the place where love was absent as God’s righteous wrath for sin was poured out on Jesus, the cross is precisely the place where God’s love is shown in the propitiation of Jesus Christ.”[7] Both God’s wrath and love were present through the sacrifice of Christ on the cross.  God’s attributes cannot be divided.[8] Driscoll masterfully presents the equality of man in our spiritual condition in this chapter, and rightly so, uses Old Testament illustrations of this reality.  In conclusion, this chapter was less theological than previous chapters I found, but not to its detriment, because of the personal response of Driscoll to Bill’s situation.

[1] From the back cover of the book.

[2] Driscoll, Mark, and Gerry Breshears. Death By Love: Letters From the Cross. (Wheaton , Ill.: Crossway Books, 2008), 115.

[3] Ibid 117.

[4] Ibid 118.

[5] I should make note that I understand that this chapter is introductory but still left so much out as far as the doctrine of justification.

[6] Driscoll, Mark, and Gerry Breshears. Death By Love: Letters From the Cross. (Wheaton , Ill.: Crossway Books, 2008), 131.

[7] Ibid. 132.

[8] See A.W. Tozer, Knowledge of the Holy Page 15.


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Filed under Application, Book Review, Gospel Foundations, Mueller

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