Seeking and defining our identity is a universal pursuit. Everyone wants to be viewed as hip or refined, mature or rebellious, trendy or classic, or any variety of adjectives and combinations. The point is that we all want to be defined by something, and we all want the right to determine that definition. That’s why we pursue degrees, careers, and reputations for the prestige of their titles – titles that ultimately disappoint or fail. This is exactly the problem that Pastor Mark Driscoll addresses in his newest book Who Do You Think You Are? (WDYTYA).
Driscoll the Writer
Driscoll has a unique writing ability. He can quote the Bible, dead theologians like Martin Luther, and movies like Memento and Fight Club without skipping a beat. He also combines two different Christian writing styles in this book. WDYTYA is a plea for people to find their identity in Christ – non-Christians for the first time and Christians as a new habit. In that regard, it’s a great topical teaching. However, it’s also an easy-to-read expositional commentary on the book of Ephesians.
If you’ve read any of Driscoll’s other books you’ll notice that this one is significantly different. I’ve read almost all of them and have watched him progress as a writer. His earliest books are very raw, honest, funny, and Jesus centered. His next several books are thoroughly theological, yet practical and engaging, and still Jesus centered. The main similarity in WDYTYA to his other books is the fact that he illustrates his teaching with weighty, sometimes heart wrenching, stories of people from Mars Hill Church. It’s also definitely still Jesus centered.
Most of his books have had a very specific audience: church planters and pastors, victims of abuse and hardship, people who are curious about exploring Jesus, and married people – in no particular order. WDYTYA, by Driscoll’s own admission, was written to the broadest base of people of all his books. It’s definitely a book that a person with no biblical understanding could pick up and enjoy, and one that a seasoned seminary professor could benefit from.
There were a handful of chapters in WDYTYA that I particularly enjoyed. Chapter 5, “I am Appreciated,” was one of my favorites. Have you ever told someone that they gave a great message, sang beautifully, or explained something particularly well at church only to have them say, “it’s all the Lord?” I have, and I find it frustrating, but always felt bad for finding it frustrating – which made it all the more frustrating.
Driscoll points out that Paul thanked the Ephesians for the work they did for God, and didn’t expect them to shrug off his gratitude. Driscoll says, “while it may sound spiritual to say that everything that happens is solely by God and that we can take no credit and deserve no appreciation for anything we do, it’s unbiblical and ungrateful.” He then goes on to say how important it is to appreciate people who work hard for the sake of the gospel, “It’s grievous when, out of the good desire to reserve all glory for God, we forget to also appreciate those through whom God works.”
Chapter 7, “I am Reconciled,” was probably my favorite chapter in the entire book. One of the goals of the chapter is racial reconciliation, so church leaders who read WDYTYA should pay especially close attention to this chapter. Despite many advances that the American Church has made, we are still very segregated. For the sake of time, I’ll leave you with one quote, “our cultural differences may distinguish us, but they do not define us and should not divide God’s people or allow them to accept the social structures and idols that wrongly divide people.”
Points of Contention
There are definitely parts of WDYTYA that will rub some people wrong. For instance, if you’re an Arminian, you won’t like a 4 paragraph section of Chapter 4, “I am Blessed.” If you’re a cessationist, or even a cautious continuationist, you’ll feel uncomfortable during parts of Chapter 10, “I am Gifted.” Finally, if you’re a die hard Driscoll fan (like I am), you may not find this to be his most engaging book. Sometimes that’s the downside of writing a good book that can reach a broader audience. That said, it’s an excellent book, I thoroughly enjoyed it.
By way of housekeeping, I should mention that I got a free advanced ebook copy of Who Do You Think You Are? as a member of the “Who Do You Think You Are? Street Team.” Writing an honest review of the book was an expectation for members of the Street Team – one I am glad to uphold. That’s enough of my thoughts, you should click here and buy a copy for yourself … now.