Rebel’s Guide to Joy – Johnny Cash

I’ve always been a big Johnny Cash fan.  Here is a clip from Mars Hill Church:

Paul and Barnabas and Mark (Driscoll)

36 And after some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us return and visit the brothers in every city where we proclaimed the word of the Lord, and see how they are.” 37 Now Barnabas wanted to take with them John called Mark. 38 But Paul thought best not to take with them one who had withdrawn from them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work. 39 And there arose a sharp disagreement, so that they separated from each other. Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus, 40 but Paul chose Silas and departed, having been commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord. 41 And he went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.  (Acts 15:36-41 ESV)

At the beginning of what was to be their second missionary journey together, two of the greatest leaders of the ancient church reached an impasse.  It was a disagreement over the fitness for ministry of a coworker.

One of these great leaders, Paul, who would eventually write half of the New Testament insisted that the young coworker, John, also called Mark, would not come with them.  Few would argue that Paul’s impact for the cause of Christ was second only to Christ Himself.  However, Paul’s partner, Barnabas, who was called the son of encouragement, did not agree, and insisted that Mark be taken with them.

It’s hard to say who was right in the argument, and I’m not sure that it is really important for the purpose of this post.  But I can’t help but see a parallel with the current controversy surrounding Mark Driscoll, John Piper, and John MacArthur.  MacArthur has argued that Driscoll is unfit for ministry and should step down from his ministry.  Piper, however, has taken a different approach choosing to confront Driscoll on areas where Piper felt that Driscoll has crossed the line.  (listen to Piper’s recent comments on the situation here).

I’ve been listening to Driscoll for quite a few years now.  And I’ll admit, sometimes, Mark says something that makes me cringe.  But less and less as time goes by.  Like most of us, I think, Mark is maturing.  Not as fast as some would like, but he is growing all the same.  I’m not saying that Mark doesn’t need to change.  He does.  So do I.  So does John Piper.  So does John MacArthur.  But let’s give him a chance.  He is being used by God in great ways.

A friend of mine said that in some ways MacArthur and Driscoll are a lot alike.  Both are willing to take a stand for truth, and are willing to call out error (by name) when they see it.  Maybe there is hope for them to someday find some common ground.

But we’ve digressed from the story that we started at the beginning of this post.  And the story has a somewhat surprising ending.  As we know, Paul goes on to be the most influential voice in the early church, and has a staggeringly important ministry.  We don’t know as much about Barnabas.  Some attribute that writing of Hebrews to him.  And Mark, who was dismissed by Paul early in his career goes on to write the first of the four canonical accounts of the life and ministry of Jesus.  Near the end of his life, Paul writes to his disciple, Timothy the following:

9 Do your best to come to me soon. 10 For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia. 11 Luke alone is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is very useful to me for ministry. (2 Tim 4:9-11 ESV)

The young man he once dismissed as unfit is the person he most wants near him and aiding him in his ministry.  There are truly no wounds that God cannot heal.

Shack Resources

the-shackThe Shack by William P. Young has emerged as one of the bestselling Christian books of the last several years.  It seems as though everyone is reading or has read it.

But is it helpful?  Lifechanging?  The Pilgrim’s Progress for the 21st Century (a la Eugene Peterson)?

I don’t think so.  But I appear to be in the minority of the evangelical community in general.  This post isn’t intended to expand on my opinions of the book (I may do that later), but to consolidate some other thoughtful reviews of the book (some even positive).

I’ll update this post as I run across other reviews that I find helpful to the discussion.  If you think I’m missing any, please leave a comment.

Here’s a few mostly critical reviews that I largely agree with…

Tim Challies – Probably the most thoughtful and thorough review I’ve found.  Be sure to download the extended PDF version

Straight Up – From James MacDonald’s ministry

Insight for Living – Chuck Swindoll’s ministry

Breakpoint – Chuck Colson says “Stay out of the Shack”

Boundless – A ministry of Focus on the Family.  Post entitled “Ramshackle Theology”

Fred Sanders – Four Walls, Five Reviews.  This one is my favorite.  Uses humor and satire to review the book from five different perspectives.  I love the “Green Eggs and Ham” version.

Mary Kassian – Great review.  Captures a lot of my concerns

Scott Kaufman – On Ronnie Floyd’s blog

Al Mohler – This one is an audio file.

Gary Gilley – Pastor of South Valley Chapel

Norman Geisler – Review from the well know Apologist

Stand to Reason – Greg Koukl’s ministry

Hank Hanegraaff – the Bible Answer Man

Mark Driscoll – Pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle (video)

Voddie Baucham – Note that the video quality is poor and that Voddie incorrectly mentions Steven Curtis Chapman as endorsing the book.  He apologizes and notes that mistake on his blog.

Matt Slick – Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry (CARM)

Scott Lindsey – At the Resurgence website

James DeYoung – A professor at Western Seminary, and more interestingly, a personal friend of the author.  (This one is long – 39 pages!)

Michael Youssef – Pastor of Church of the Apostles in Atlanta and President of Leading the Way Ministries.

Todd Friel – Video.  This isn’t really a review of the book so much as a critique of the author.  Todd reviews an interview in which William P. Young clearly denies penal substitutionary atonement.

Doug Wilson – Very insightful review by the well-known and sometimes controversial author, educator, and pastor.

Gary Thomas – Author of Sacred Marriage.

To be fair here are a couple of thoughtful, positive reviews.  I only have two here because, quite frankly – other than a million reviews that say’ “I loved it – it changed my life – it made me feel all mushy inside.” – these are the only positive reviews that I have found that deal thoughtfully with the book.

Michael Patton – I usually agree with him, but not this time (except I do agree with the title).

Michael Spencer – iMonk’s take on the book.