The bottom line: A superb handbook of practical theology made accessible to all. Provides comprehensive biblical principles to navigate through life’s more complicated dilemmas and answers the tough questions.
In the author’s own words, “[R]eligion never saved anyone, and religious answers to complex questions are simply misconceptions.” Examples of some of these complex questions include birth control, dating, breaking free of sexual sin, predestination, the “gift” of singleness, grace, the emerging church, and the fallacy of justification by works. Overall, Religion Saves is a phenomenal but heavy, intricate book that dives deep into the scriptures and theology to convey its message. By no means does the text ever gloss over a topic, exclude important points or steer away from a challenging question because it will get too “messy.”
This inspiration for the book comes from I Corinthians 9:22-23 where the apostle Paul answers questions from the Corinthian Church through a letter. He subsequently becomes “all things to all people” by serving as a common reference point for all people from all walks of life. Religion Saves was written based upon the 9 most popular questions asked via an open forum to the church on any topic under the sun.
One reason why this book triumphs is that it takes a very Bible-oriented, yet rational and intellectual approach to address all questions from several angles. Driscoll never goes off on a rant and says “this is how it is,” but addresses all questions in a very comprehensive manner, begins with issue’s history, cites specific biblical references, and then incorporates truths and data from modern sources (both secular and non-secular). The chapter on predestination for example, addresses the historical development of the idea from the first century, describes the two schools of Calvinism and Arminianism, and then comes to a complete conclusion citing specific verses and therein answering more questions on the topic. In short, Driscoll leaves no stone unturned in formulating his arguments and even takes the time to address divergent conclusions. The average Christian will pick up many seminary level ideas and concepts just by reading through the book’s pages.
For me, a less-valuable chapter is Question 8: Humor that addresses if humor can be used in sermons or whether comedy can be used to convey biblical messages. This by far is the most subjective chapter of the book and isn’t really a real-life problem but more of a personal take on one issue that bears no significant relevance in everyday life. This section is meant to be cheeky and lighthearted but comes across as dull and bombs as a comedic interlude. The biblical story references are slightly amusing at best.
So, if you are someone who will be ministering to others, then read this book. If you like to give real, biblical answers to real people about real life problems, then read this book. If you’re a Christian and have some questions about what the Bible says about your life in the 21st century, then read this book. If you like living under a rock, shun knowledge, hope that people would accept “that’s just how it is” answers, or think life would be much simpler if it were 1950, then don’t read this book.
Dr. C. H. E. Sadaphal