For those who don’t know, Mark Driscoll is the founding pastor of Mars Hill church in Seattle, as well as the Acts 29 church planting network. Our church, CrossPointe Waterford Lakes, is actually not only in the Acts 29 network, but in the Mars Hill network as well as part of a year long mentoring program (which recently included a nice website overhaul). As part of that, we’re actually following along with Mars Hill’s current sermon series on Ephesians, which coincides with Driscoll’s latest book Who Do You Think You Are?
This isn’t the first book by Driscoll I’ve reviewed on here. In fact, his Death By Love was one of the first reviews I ever did. Doctrine was the first review series I ever did, and is also the textbook for the class I’m teaching at church right now. Doctrine was also my first foray into critical appreciation of Driscoll’s thought. On the whole I felt it was a helpful book, but I had some reservations about how certain topics were handled (usually ones related to the Old Testament). Real Marriage on the other hand was a major disappointment, so much so that I don’t particularly recommend it, but I also don’t think it is as bad as some critics make it out to be.
Which really, truth be told, is kind true of Driscoll in general. He is an excellent communicator, that, though he does still suffer from occasional foot in mouth disease, is still I think a little more calculated in what he says than people give him credit for. I’ve noticed personal growth in humility on his part since I first started podcasting in 2008, and I think Who Do You Think You Are? is both that and careful study of the book of Ephesians.
Driscoll opens the book with a chapter that raises the question of identity. Since everyone has some kind of identity, and everyone bases that identity in some source, it’s an issue everyone deals with one way or another. After pointing out the wrong sources in which many in our modern culture find their identities, Driscoll’s second chapter explains how as Christians, our identity should be found in Christ. This chapter also serves as background to the book of Ephesians, which Driscoll then works through passage by passage in the remainder of the book:
- I am a saint (Ephesians 1:1-2)
- I am blessed (Ephesians 1:3-14)
- I am appreciated (Ephesians 1:15-23)
- I am saved (Ephesians 2:1-10)
- I am reconciled (Ephesians 2:11-22)
- I am afflicted (Ephesians 3:1:13)
- I am heard (Ephesians 3:14-21)
- I am gifted (Ephesians 4:1-16)
- I am new (Ephesians 4:17-24)
- I am forgiven (Ephesians 4:25-32)
- I am adopted (Ephesians 5:1-21)
- I am loved (Ephesians 5:22-33)
- I am rewarded (Ephesians 6:1-9)
- I am victorious (Ephesians 6:10-24)
Each chapter focuses on the particular aspect of our identity in Christ and how it is fleshed out in that particular passage. In this way, each chapter is not necessarily a thorough exposition of each passage, but more of a thematic, or biblical-theological exposition of the theme “union with Christ” in the book of Ephesians. Driscoll is thorough, but not exhaustive. He has several excellent typologies in each chapter that will help readers unpack their understanding of where their identity lies and ultimately how it can be reoriented to Christ.
After reading the book, to be honest, I think the biggest weakness was probably the way it was marketed. Since this is a book review, I’m not going to comment extensively on that, but I think Driscoll is open to admitting when he makes mistakes (more so than he used to, he’ll be the first to admit) and I think a little time will show that the whole incentives for reviews on Amazon wasn’t the best idea. Also, I think if you’re going to assemble a street team for the book (of which I am a part), you ought to send them hard copies of the book instead of PDF’s, which for me, aren’t really helpful for really digesting a book and then critically interacting with it.
I’m gonna let that go, and instead stay focused on the book itself. In many ways it’s a kind of beginner’s look at the theology of our union with Christ couched in the language of identity. Though not using this term pejoratively, Who Do You Think You Are? is kind of a “pop theology” book whose more in depth counterpart would be Constantine Campbell’s Paul and Union With Christ: An Exegetical and Theological Study. For those who do not have the patience for Campbell (or the desire to read a 400+ page book with untranslated Greek in places), Driscoll’s book is an excellent and accessible alternative. I would heartily recommend this book to high school and college students who are in the process of forming their identity. Most of what I’m actually doing for the street team is offline and concerns passing many of the ideas along to the high school students I work with, and in some cases, encouraging them to read the book. I even just recommend it as a Bible study tool for a friend.
I personally did not find the book all that revolutionary, but that’s probably more due to being ahead of the curve on this topic. Also, I had to read it in PDF on my iPad which is my 2nd least desirable format for reading (galleys from NetGalley being the least). In my reading though, I found Driscoll to be his usually self, which is to say, he is an engaging writer who generalizes in some places to make a point, but ultimately is just trying his best to point people to Jesus. Unlike his last book however, there is really no overtly controversial content. There may be a few things in his treatment of Ephesians that we could split hairs over, but for the most part he is relying on the best commentaries out there in his expositional work. Granting that he is doing an thematic study rather than an in-depth exegetical treatment of Ephesians, I think this book is a great starting point for a lifelong journey into the topic of our identity in Christ. I’ve seen others around the web suggest this may be Driscoll’s strongest and most pastoral book yet. Though I’m tempted to say that’s probably more true of Death By Love, this is definitely in competition and is a book that ought to gain a wide reading among Christians who need to find their true identity in Christ.
- Author: Mark Driscoll
- Title: Who Do You Think You Are? Finding Your True Identity In Christ
- Publisher: Thomas Nelson (January 8, 2013)
- Hardcover: 256pgs
- Reading Level: General Reader
- Audience Appeal: Anyone who wants to see how Ephesians teaches our true identity is grounded in Christ
- Gratis Review Copy: Yes (courtesy of Mars Hill)
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