Doctrine: What Christians Should Believe (RE: Lit) Hardcover – March 18, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
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“An interesting, clear, practical, biblical, and remarkably insightful guide to the main doctrinal teachings of the whole Bible!”
—Wayne Grudem, Research Professor of Bible and Theology, Phoenix Seminary
"Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshears have written a remarkably insightful treatment of central biblical teachings, with a few surprising but welcome choices. Doctrine is meaty, well-researched, clearly written, interesting, and refreshing—a rare combination. Those who know that truth matters will relish this book. If you don't know that truth matters you should read it anyway, and enjoy watching your mind and heart change."
—Randy Alcorn, founder, Eternal Perspective Ministries; author, If God is Good and Heaven
"Sadly, many Christians think that doctrine is terminally boring and inherently divisive. Driscoll and Breshears blow that stereotype out of the water as they tackle thirteen core doctrines with uncommon grace and penetrating clarity. This addition to my personal library will undoubtedly become well-worn."
—Larry Osborne, Pastor, North Coast Church, Vista, California; author, Sticky Church
"This valuable resource will help Christians clearly understand and articulate their beliefs while igniting a deeper love and passion for Christ."
—Craig Groeschel, Senior Pastor, LifeChurch.tv; author, WEIRD: Because Normal Isn't Working
"We used the unpublished manuscript of Doctrine as a textbook at ChangePoint. In short, the students loved it! They found it easy to read and very practical. Most are looking forward to buying a copy for their personal libraries. Our church has already benefited from Mark and Gerry's latest effort. Buy the book! Use it with your leaders and watch a deeper understanding of doctrine change their lives."
—Dan H. Jarrell, Teaching Pastor, ChangePoint Church, Anchorage, Alaska
"God is raising up a new generation of Christ-followers who long to know him and his missional ways in a theologically-robust manner. This latest book by Driscoll and Breshears is certain to play a major role in forming such doctrinally-sound Christians. Besides covering all the major theological topics, they address deep doctrinal issues in a clear and understandable way. And, as in all their books, they help us grasp what difference these doctrines can and should make in our lives and churches."
—Gregg R. Allison, Associate Professor of Christian Theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
"I like Doctrine very much. It is a relatively short, clear, and accurate topical summary of biblical teachings, focused on the practical application of doctrine. There is much here to aid readers who have thought in the past that theology was too complicated, uninteresting, or irrelevant. This book is none of those things. It takes off on wings of eagles. It is so important today that believers understand and become committed to all that God's Word says. This book is a wonderful tool to help them do that."
—John M. Frame, J. D. Trimble Chair of Systematic Theology and Philosophy, Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando, Florida
"Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshears have accomplished the unusual: they have written a book on doctrine that is both interesting and substantive! Doctrine is rigorously biblical and theologically faithful. It lays out with clarity the great truths of the faith, showing their essential character and practical import. This is a good gift for the body of Christ. I will be happy to commend to it to the seasoned saint and the new believer."
—Daniel L. Akin, President, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
"I offer my unlimited limited endorsement of Doctrine. It's limited with respect to acknowledging that not everyone needs to agree with every point of doctrine outlined in the book in order to benefit from the fair-minded treatment that Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshears give to each of the Christian doctrines examined. In areas where Christians are known to hold differing views, Driscoll and Breshears respectfully outline options before clearly stating their own beliefs. It's unlimited with respect to wholeheartedly embracing the clear ambition of the book. In an age when people, even Christians, place such high personal value on internal experience, we desperately need to look outside ourselves—to the doctrines of the Bible—to truly hear and receive the good news of Jesus Christ."
—James H. Gilmore, author, The Experience Economy and Authenticity
"I listened to the sermon series that preceded this book and was very excited to hear they were putting it all into print. Doctrine should not be a dirty word in the church. Right now the need for Christians to hold fast to biblical truth is greater than ever, and this book is a solid, sleek, no-nonsense resource that is perfect for equipping every believer with the knowledge of essential biblical doctrines."
—Dustin Kensrue, singer and guitarist, Thrice
"Whenever a new book comes across my desk I always ask What am I going to do with this? The answer is not always immediately clear. But with this book, I knew within the first few pages: I’m going to buy a number of copies, give them to our leaders, and tell them to give the copies to young Christians to read. Breshears and Driscoll have done us all a huge favor in writing Doctrine. Foundational truths are explained in clear and accessible terms. This is doctrine taught as doctrine should be taught: biblically, thoroughly, accessibly, clearly, and practically."
—Steve Timmis, Director, Acts 29 Western Europe; coauthor, Total Church
"When my friend Mark Driscoll says he has written a book about what Christians should believe, I believe him, and here he has. Mark writes like he preaches: clear, direct, and commanding of your attention. This resource is a challenging yet easy-to-understand guide to the major doctrines of Scripture. I commend it to you as a companion to your study of God's Word."
—James MacDonald, Senior Pastor, Harvest Bible Chapel, Chicagoland Area; radio teacher, Walk in the Word
"At the beginning of the 20th century when many sought to redefine the church in terms of emotional experience and loose ecclesiastical unity, Gresham Machen courageously defended biblical orthodoxy, with the following words: 'It is only as Christ is offered to us in the gospel—that is, in the "doctrine" that the world despises—that Christ saves sinful men.' At the beginning of the 21st century, against similar adversaries, Driscoll and Breshears brilliantly, comprehensively, and without compromise restate the absolute importance of doctrine, without which there is no Christ and no Christianity."
—Peter R. Jones, Director, truthXchange, Scholar-in-Residence and Adjunct Professor, Westminster Seminary California
"In this helpful and accessible book, Driscoll and Breshears lay out the key doctrines of the Christian faith. Doctrine defines the core beliefs that make up biblical Christianity in a readable, understandable, and authentic way. Furthermore, I am encouraged that it consistently points the reader to God's mission to redeem the world through his Son Jesus Christ."
—Ed Stetzer, President, LifeWay Research; contributing editor, Christianity Today
- Item Weight : 1.65 pounds
- Hardcover : 464 pages
- ISBN-13 : 978-1433506253
- Product dimensions : 5.5 x 0.96 x 8.5 inches
- Publisher : Crossway Books; 1st Edition, 1st Printing (March 18, 2010)
- Language: : English
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Yes, author Mark Driscoll has significant personal/leadership issues, but the content does not rely on strength of personality or his own credibility.
Yes, the authors overplay their hand at many instances, rely too heavily on Christian sources, unfairly or weakly represent many critiques of orthodox Christian beliefs.
BUT...for mature readers/thinkers able to strain babies from bath water, and truth from messenger, this is SUCH a rich summary and distillation of basically all the core theological pillars of Christianity, as well as the major critiques and heresies. They also do a great job of raising the “so whats” re how these ideas change one’s actual life, which is (for me) absolutely essential in making any philosophical or theological debate relevant and productive.
Every Christian who aspires to be like Jesus, the Living Word of God that became flesh, must read this book which is organized by God's attributes. Humans are the image bearers of the Triune God. Like our Creator, we, too, are triune beings ... our Soul (like Abba Father), our Human Spirit (coupled either with an in-dwelling Holy Spirit or a demonic Lying Spirit) and our physical body (like Jesus in the flesh who now has a perfect immortal body, which, one day, will be ours as well).
Once we understand God and all His attributes, we can mimic Jesus in all His goodness and by doing so, walk in His blessings and manifest the power of His Holy Spirit to heal, deliver and prosper all we touch.
That being said, if you're looking for a book that approaches theology with the same lighthearted and clear tone of Driscoll's other books, such as (Vintage Jesus), you'll find yourself somewhat disappointed. I personally like it when an author brings their unique voice to the material, and this is something that Driscoll has been extremely good at in his other works. But Doctrine, while very sound in its structure and content, falls somewhat flat. You can tell it is a co-written book, and it's my guess that Driscoll had less to do with this book than you'd expect.
As far as the treatment, tone, and theological perspective of the book goes. Doctrine provides a great overview of key theological concepts in a simple systematic way. As I shared above, it falls somewhat flat in it's presentation, at least based on my expectations coming in to reading the book. Regarding theological perspective, Doctrine is a solidly Reformed theology. My only concern with Doctrine's theology comes when Driscoll and Breshears seem to want to have their cake and eat it too when it comes to the issue of Biblical authority. On one hand they suggest a primarily literal hermeneutic, but then they deviate from this when interpreting passages regarding creation. At one point in the book they suggest that the Wesleyan quadrilateral places the individual above Scripture, which in my opinion is not what Wesley meant at all, and that Scripture must always be our highest authority. Then they proceed to use a very Wesleyan hermeneutic when interpreting passages like the creation story. My only concern here is that theological integrity demands that authors consistently apply the same hermeneutic throughout a their theology, and I'm not sure that is the case here.
That being said, I have found Doctrine to be a very helpful book. I am currently using it as one book in a mentoring group I'm leading at the church I pastor, and have found it to be written in an extremely accessible way. It has also been a great tool for opening the door to theological discussion for several men in our church who are just beginning their relationship with Christ. I'm grateful to Driscoll and Breshears for providing a great resource to the local church.
Also, Doctrine is a good book to recommend to people who want to sharpen their theology OR someone who needs a framework for the bigger picture of what citizens in the Kingdom of God believe.
New Christians: Hello. Welcome to the family of God. Doctrine is a quality book for you to read because it explains foundational truths of Christianity in a straightforward, clear, biblical way. But if all this stuff is new to you, it's information overload like crazy. So, take it slow and read it with some friends.
Everyone: Doctrine is 436 (464 if you include the indexes) pages of solid, well-researched information. You'll be sharpened in your knowledge of the Trinity, how God speaks, the creation, people being made in God's image, the fall, the covenants, the incarnation, the cross, the resurrection, the church, worship, stewardship, and the kingdom.
With that said, information is not the same thing as transformation. The questions to be asking yourself as you're reading this book is "Are these truths real in me?" and "How am I living this out in my daily life?" We've met plenty of people who know all the right stuff but lack humility, gentleness, and action. Biblical thinking put into biblical living results in a life that's great before God. So, read this book with a heart of asking the Holy Spirit to make these truths real in you.
In summary, Doctrine is totally worth your time, totally worth your attention, and is a valuable resource you'll refer back to again and again.
Top reviews from other countries
Taking all of this in account, I think it's safe to state that I have quite a bit of knowledge about the Christian faith. What could a book called 'Doctrine' add? Much!
For starters, 'Doctrine' is a complete and comprehensive overview of the main topics in the Christian faith. The book has 13 chapters on subjects ranging from who God is, how He creates, what the Fall entails, how God sent Jesus to save, what worship is, and how it all will end. It's a complete overview of God's work as presented in the Holy Scriptures and it's a practical elaboration on what might be expected from a believing Christian. I read in a period of a few weeks, which is much better if you want to get a general view of the Christian faith and its theology than attending for example catechism classes for a period of six years.
Secondly, during my teen years I was interested in discovering what my church believed and, thus, what I ought to believe. When I grew a few years older, I started to get an interest in different views on what Christians ought to believe and what they believe. The traditional confessions and faith overviews of my parent's church (which had become my church as well) were not very open to differing views. 'Doctrine' however is: when differing views exist about a certain subject, Driscoll and Breshears present a short overview, explain what each of the views stands for and make a grounded choice for one of the presented options. What strikes me in this approach is that they use convincing and complete arguments, not only for their own position, but also for the positions of the others.
Some general remarks:
- Driscoll and Breshears make extensive use of the Holy Scriptures in 'Doctrine'. I think that's good, very good, but it's not the only resource a theologian ought to use, I believe. This brings me to one of the downsides of this book: it's not grounded very well in the larger theologic tradition. Of course, once in a while other theologians and writers are mentioned and quoted, but that happens not too many times. Moreover, when it happens, they usually quote modern theologians (ones that are still living) and not so many of the older ones.
- The subtitle of the book is 'What Christians should believe' and although I agree with this subtitle - since I generally agree with the contents of the book - I nevertheless think it's a bit too presumptuous. It leaves no opening for differing Christian views, a thing the book itself in its 13 chapters surely does.
- The book contains resources for small group discussions. These are short (no longer than one page), but more than extensive enough for a good evening-long discussion.
1. Trinity: God is.
2. Revelation: God speaks.
3. Creation: God makes.
4. Image: God loves.
5. Fall: God judges.
6. Covenant: God pursues.
7. Incarnation: God comes
8. Cross: God dies.
9. Resurrection: God saves.
10. Church: God sends.
11. Worship: God transforms.
12. Stewardship: God gives.
13. Kingdom: God reigns.
It includes small group resources, a general index and a scripture index.
This audiobook (I bought the 16 CD version but using audible to download the book would work just as well and might be easier for others) brings together alot of information about the theology, history, cultural practices, differences/agreements of beliefs or opinions and shares how this all relates to the Doctrine of contemporary Christianity.
Alot of time is spent within the book to initially explain the context of the topic, eg God's saving grace or the trinity of God, then to unpack what this means practically, moving onto a range of applications/interpretations of this aspect particularly referencing non-biblical perspectives to forewarn Christians what pitfalls to avoid. The authors also make it clear what their perspective is and the reasoning behind it.