The first book on our list this year was Plain Theology for Plain People by Charles Octavius Boothe, which was written in the late 19th century and geared for uneducated church members. It is one of the most accessible theology books I have ever read and one that I will continue to recommend. If you missed the writing on that work, you can find it here.
Some theology books are so heavy laden with big words and major theological constructs that you miss the point the author is trying to make just in trying to determine what he actually said! Other times it takes reading and re-reading the page to grasp all of the depth that is being expressed. Vintage Jesus by Mark Driscoll is not one of those books. This book from 2007 takes some of the major and strong themes from the Nicene Creed of 325 and puts them in language that the modern American can digest without having to understand major theology.
Before I speak more on the book itself, let me offer a couple of quick disclaimers. In the past fifteen years, Mark Driscoll has become a very controversial figure in the evangelical church world. His church in Seattle, Mars Hill Church, was a trailblazer for Gospel ministry to a different church crowd from its beginning in 1996 until his forced resignation in 2014. Driscoll started a church planting network called Acts29 Network that still serves to plant healthy churches in urban centers across America. Without going into the controversy around Mark Driscoll that brought his resignation from Mars Hill Church and Acts29 Network, I will state that Driscoll could be very unorthodox in his methodology and extremely crass in his language (some began referring to him as “the cussing preacher”). My endorsement of this book does not equate the endorsement of Mark Driscoll himself.
Working with Gary Breshears of Western Seminary, Driscoll brings a very refreshing modern look at the person and work of Jesus. Every hundred years or so the Church will have an explorer like this. In 1906, it was Albert Schweitzer and The Quest for the Historical Jesus. One of the great departures from orthodoxy in Western Christianity came from this work, spawning other theological minds to search for the person of Jesus found on the pages of Scripture without recognition of the deity of Jesus that precluded the pages of Scripture. Vintage Jesus does something entirely different.
This book has a major aim to help the 21st century believer see the person of Christ in reference to Who He is eternally, the Son of God. The “hypostatic union” of the Nicene Creed is explored thoroughly in a very clear way. Honestly, I will go as far as to state that this is one of the better works I have read on Jesus as fully God while also being fully man. While one could be concerned that Driscoll goes to far in some points he makes in describing the personhood of Jesus, I am pleasantly surprised at the generous thought he puts into what it means for Jesus to be fully God and fully man.
Yes, Driscoll can be crass. Yes, Driscoll can be beyond sarcastic. Perhaps Driscoll can even bring out points of Christology (that’s the big term for theology about Jesus Christ) that make us a little uncomfortable as good Southern Baptists to consider. However, this book is one that I believe any of you can read and walk away from with an appreciation of the serious approach he takes to understand that Jesus, the Chosen of God, stands as our Mediator because He is fully God and fully man and the only one able to atone for our sins.
You can find this book on Amazon at: https://tinyurl.com/ybv2vbhp