Reading the introduction of this book, fourteen pages of academic explanation of doctrine of substitutionary atonement, it absolutely shocked me and brought me to tears. Even as a Christian since I was born, Driscoll's Gospel explanation ignited my heart with humbling wonder and awe at what Jesus Christ did for us. I'm really glad Driscollstarted this book talking about Jesus’ work on the cross, because it is that unbelievable atoning work that is discussed through the rest of the incredibly diverse twelve stories (letters) in this book.
Death by love is a book made in a unique way which I found very interesting. There are twelve chapters, each one telling different real stories about people who Pastor Driscoll has counseled. Eachchapter begins with a brief description of each person and their case, and then he shares a pastoral letter exposing aspects of biblical theology of the cross in concrete situations within the human dramas and existentialism affected by sin in reality. This brings wise and clear balance between theology of the normative aspect (learning, knowledge) to the existential and situational aspects(affections, emotions and ethics with practical life) in the style of Puritan doctrine to connect the Christian life, which is, the biblical ideal. Each letter features a different aspect of what Jesus did for us on the cross, for example, redemption, justification, reconciliation, atonement, reconciliation, etc. To conclude each chapter, there is a question and answer section in which Driscoll'sco-author Gary Breshears directly answers some of the tough questions that may have arisen during Driscoll's letter, what for me, I thought was really helpful.
The chapters (letters), talked about situations of our common lives that can happen everywhere in the world and it can be with people outside of the church or even with people raised in a Christian family. There were a lot of stories that Ireally liked to read, some good, bad, ugly, sad, heartbreaking, difficult, etc., but from all we can learn something. For example, the story of Mary as she endured two years of rape and sexual abuse from her boyfriend. Beyond the pain and sense of betrayal, Mary fought with loads of shame and guilt. In Mark Driscoll’s advice to her through his letter, he reminds what Christ has accomplished at Calvary.He says that Christ not only died for her sins on the cross, but also for scorn her shame. Jesus also was betrayed by someone he loved and considered to be friend (Judas). He also talked about the Day of Atonement, and how two goats were involved, one as sacrifice of propitiation and one as scapegoat of expiation. The work of God involves both elements. In other words, the righteous wrath of Godagainst sin is treated, as is the guilt and shame of sin.
Also, I liked the way he wrote the letter to Luke in the chapter “My Wife Slept with My Best Friend: Jesus Is Luke’s New Covenant Sacrifice.” Luke found out, after he was married and his wife was pregnant, that his wife cheated on him while they were engaged in the same bed they now sleep in. Thomas tells Pastor Driscoll that he wantsblood. Driscoll commends Luke for his thirst for vengeance, but points to the shed blood of Christ and says “you already have your blood,” which means, that Jesus’s blood already paid our sins.
I liked a lot of things about this book, especially the unique format it was made. Each chapter (letter) is a complete history by itself. They do not necessary inform one another or build on concepts alreadypresented earlier. They could be read separately or in any order and still be complete and making sense. Another strength that I think this book has, is that the whole point of the gospel story of Christ's work on the cross applies to everyone, no matter what their situation is. Therefore, the gospel is presented in every single letter. It is also presented carefully to apply to the specific...