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Death by Love: Letters from the Cross
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Death by Love: Letters from the Cross

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  2,308 Ratings  ·  91 Reviews
Real people. Real sin. Transformed lives. A compilation of heartfelt letters written from a pastor to his people that explains Jesus' work on the cross.

Death by Love is a unique book on the cross of Jesus Christ. While many books debate the finer points of the doctrine of the atonement, what is often lost are the real-life implications of Jesus' death on the cross for thos
ebook, 185 pages
Published May 14th 2014 by Crossway Books (first published September 12th 2008)
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Rating details
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Feb 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This is an excellent book. Driscoll's style is very straight forward, and he doesn't pull any punches. If you want soft, flexible, or seeker-friendly Christianity than this book is not for you. If, however, you want straightforward honest biblical truth, then read this book.

Death by Love is great because it deals with real people in real life down-and-dirty situations. Not every story will apply directly to every reader, but you will undoubtedly find something to glean from each one, and I'm cer
Nov 27, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christology, pastoral
It's not often I refuse to finish a book. Regardless of worth I tend to trudge through and finish what I started. I could only finish half this book. I just didn't see the point of continuing.

On the one hand I appreciate the aims of the book. It was clear to me that Driscoll and Breshears sought to make their pastoral ministry theological. For this I applaud them. This was written by a pastor and a theologian with a pastoral purpose. This is a worthwhile development and I greatly admire this mov
Oct 25, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Sit back, Goodreadians, for I'm ready to tell you a story.

My story has a little to do with the actual book, a fair amount to do with the author, and a lot to do with the impact the author has had on my life, though I've never met him.

You can glean from the one star this impact is not positive.

Some years ago, I was accepted for a ministries internship at a large church in my city. At the time, I had aspirations of being a pastor, and I thought this would be a good opportunity to gain experience.
Ryan Hawkins
Nov 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cross
For what it is, I really enjoyed it. Although many might argue that Driscoll has recently fallen to a bad place, this book here is irrelevant to that subject because in it he undoubtedly provides great responses to these difficult pastoral situations. They were very intriguing to read. But most importantly, I gained more of a love for the cross of Christ more because of reading it. It was unique because it wasn't just theology, but theology literally put into practice in people's lives. Very hel ...more
May 08, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I thought this book was terrible, and actually couldn't finish it because I was so disgusted.
Mar 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was really good. The stories were downright heart breaking.The authors did an amazing job with addressing the people as well as answering questions. Their are many points in this book I will be returning to.
Graham Heslop
Apr 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Theologically rich pastoral application of the work of Christ. Driscoll is refreshingly candid about sin and clear on Scripture. He also demonstrates righteous anger and pleads like a prophet for repentance. Read it and give it away
Philip Brown
Jul 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved it. Didn't care much for his comments on the extent of the atonement, but still very good.
Aug 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mars-hill
I have not read all of Mark Driscoll's writings, but this is the best books of his I have read yet (one of the best books of any author at that!). In a style untypical of Driscoll's other writings, this book is a collection of 12 letters that he personally wrote to 12 individuals he has pastored; each covering a different aspect of how the Crucifixion of Jesus on the cross adequately satisfies the struggles each individual is dealing with. The topics covered include: Jesus as Christus Victor, re ...more
James E. Robinson, III
This is a powerful book. Mark Driscoll, pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Washington, has compiled a collection of letters to folks he has met through his ministry.

The letters:
* Demons Are Tormenting Me, Jesus Is Katie's Christus Victor
* Lust Is My God, Jesus Is Thomas's Redemption
* My Wife Slept with My Friend, Jesus Is Luke's New Covenant Sacrifice
* I Am a 'Good' Christian, Jesus Is David's Gift Righteousness
* I Molested a Child, Jesus Is John's Justification
* My Dad Used to Beat Me, Jesu
Apr 10, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a hard book to rate. I appreciated all the intricacies that the book dives into about the cross. The Bible says that there is nothing on Earth more glorifying to God than the cross so studying it to more fully appreciate it is definitely worth the deeper dive. I took a lot away from it in that respect. That being said the book for long stretches was hard to read. It was extremely repetitive in points and verses to support the points. With the thrust of each letter boiling down to the exa ...more
Jason Custer
Mar 22, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The basic idea of this book intrigued me so much that I bought it while browsing in my seminary library. Basically, what Driscoll does is write letters to people he has met with in his church and address their different issues by expounding on different aspects of Christ's atonement. So in essence he is using the cross as a means of counseling and applying Christ to different problems that come up in everyday affairs within the church body.

For example, he talks about how Christ is the propitiati
Jul 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mark Driscoll has a heart! With feelings and everything! For a few years now, I have been a fan of Mark Driscoll's theology and his ability to communicate. Driscoll is someone who takes the Bible very seriously and has a great respect for God, and he speaks hard truths on a consistent basis, so I am regularly challenged when I listen to his podcasts or read his books. Unfortunately, he has an abrasive and condescending style, and it's hard to hear his heart underneath the growly demands for men ...more
James Bunyan
Feb 18, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful to spend chapter after chapter focusing solely on what happened at the cross and seeing that applied to a whole bunch of different people in the letters Driscoll writes. It's a bit explicit with many of the chapters seemingly addressed to people who have sinned sexually in some way, but very helpful and deeply pastoral.
Sort of like an applied "Cross of Christ," dealing with a different facet of this precious jewel of christian theology each chapter.

Here are the chapter headings, in cas
Ben Connelly
Dec 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
I read this book alongside Leviticus commentaries, & found it to be a very practical, applicable view of what all Jesus' sacrifice actually accomplished. A couple of chapters were a little hard to follow; maybe forced - which is the only reason for the 4/5. But overall, I appreciated both the theological depth but also (especially?) the personal side of seeing what the gospel does in various situations.

I would definitely recommend the book to folks who wish to grow in their depth of apprecia
KC McCauley
Driscoll applies the cross in very specific ways--in the form of letters to various people he has counseled over the years. He writes to people that have experienced demonic torment, bondage to lust, adultery, child molestation, rape, a sure sentence to hell, familial hostility, an interest in Christianity, and even to his, with whom he discusses the nature and importance of the atonement.

Not only is this book great for counseling as it applies the cross to very specific situations, but it is al
Jul 24, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An innovative read on applying the theology of the death of Christ to the specifics of peoples' lives. Some of the personal vignettes were powerful illustrations of the need for Christ in the individual situation. The authors, Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshears, did not pull any punches in their presentation of the situation or their response to it.

I found some of the reading repetitive; and for me, many of the initial vignettes and letters were the most powerful. Perhaps it was the structure of
Jacob Van Sickle
This is a great book about the cross of Christ. It is not great because of shear theological content but the way the theology of the cross is applied. In this book Pastor Mark Driscoll writes letters to people in his congregation. The letters show the reality and wretchedness of sin along with the justice and grace of God. To do this, he applies the cross to their situations. He applies the cross and Jesus as Christus Victor to a demonized woman. He applies the cross and Jesus as redemption to a ...more
Bryan McWhite
Jul 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This may be the best explanation of Christ's work of atonement on the Cross that I have yet read, including John Stott's classic, "The Cross of Christ." It is CERTAINLY the most easily applicable and practically useful work on the Cross that I've ever read. Most readers will find this to be an accessible work that will bring healing to wounds and will pitch crucially important theology of the Cross at an understandable level. Pastors will find this to be a GOLD MINE of pastoral theology and prac ...more
Scott Ray
Aug 05, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book looking at the cross from all the different angles. Looking at everything Jesus did through the crucifixion.

Done in a very practical way. Each chapter is a letter to someone that the author knows. Someone that has come to him with a problem. It starts off with a summary of what is going on in their life. Then the author responds to them with an aspect of the cross and how it applies to their life. In this manner you guet not only the doctrine of the crucifixion but also how you a
This book is both easy and difficult to read.

As readability goes, I zoomed through the 250 pages in about a week's worth of reading as I walked and grabbing the occasional read on my lunch break. The conversational style (at times a little forced) and the relatively short chapter length leads to a nice, quick read.
However (and this is not at all a bad 'however'), it is a meaty book filled with difficult topics and if you are anything like me, some of the chapters will have something of an emotio
Jul 25, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Exceptional pastoral theology. This book reveals that theology is life changing and practical. Driscoll describes 12 real people in a variety of very full-on life situations, and then writes each of them a letter explaining (very theologically) how Christ's death on the cross is their solution and (only) hope. It's a remarkable combination of gritty, harrowing life stories and unashamedly heavy theology. However, this does make for some slow reading at times! There's also the usual repetition th ...more
Nov 20, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like Mark Driscoll
This book is a collection of pastoral letters pointing different people to different aspects of the theology of the cross. Clear and straightforward, the letters themselves are generally marked with concern and godly counsel. The situations the recipients face run the gamut, but many are very dark, and they are considered with the gravity they deserve. At the end of each letter there is a section with theological FAQs to address aspects of the theology not dealt with in the letter itself. These ...more
May 18, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christian
An interesting look into the pastoral methods of Mark Driscoll. In this book, he presents letters that he sent to various people who have need of serious ministry and counseling. The hinge of each letter is penal substitutionary atonement. Throughout the book, Driscoll portrays how this theological point should play into how people work out their real-life situations.

Driscoll's pastoral work is not often gentle. He does no wooing to repentance. He calls. He demands. At times, it seems a bit to h
Sep 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Update: Started re-reading this on audio last night and was brought to tears in the first chapter when Mark was describing the brutality of the cross. I always appreciate and need to hear Driscoll's approach of painful honesty and blunt delivery.

I listened to this on audio - Mark does the reading. This book will walk all over your toes but in a way that I think everyone needs. A lot of thought and prayer went into this book -- I can tell that from the get go. I've sent this to someone who I thin
Dec 16, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
To be honest, Driscoll's writing style in this book took me a little off-guard and I was surprised by it, but he has a disclaimer in the introduction that says that would probably happen. A friend, Bob, said of this book, "Makes me want to accept Jesus all over again," as it is a genuine reminder of all that the cross of Christ accomplishes purely because of God's love and grace towards us. At times I thought it a bit repetitive, yet it is always good to get the gospel pressed hard into you and ...more
Jan 07, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
I very much appreciate what this book tried to do, namely apply theology to real life. Yet, I found myself put off by phrases along the lines of, "If you do not believe my theology, you will be in error." Driscoll nearly sets himself up as a spiritual guru with all of the right theological answers while minimizing his own past when deciding to share information from it. I am also curious what happened to the individuals who received these letters.
Isaiah Jesch
Jul 20, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
The chapters in this book on Propitiation and Expiation are quite excellent. I found myself very moved by them and have referred to those two chapters in particular a few times since then. Overall, I enjoyed this book and would recommend it as a good theological introduction. The way the book is written is very interesting having a conversational feel in pastorally applying the theological truths to real life situations.
Matt Cline
Mar 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book will always have a special place in my heart. This is the book that introduced me to the fact that Jesus, the cross and this gospel message is the true center of theology and solution for all my life. I was shocked when I first learned what the cross really entailed and captivated by all the facets of what Jesus accomplished. And this started my investigation into reformed theology when I read this curious section on limited atonement.
Pete Kieffer
May 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you want to better understand the mystery of Christ's suffering and death on the cross. About what that has to do with you. This is the book. I read it twice and plan to read it again. Each reading brought me greater depth of understanding. This is one of the best Christian books I have read. Driscoll does a good job of explaining theological concepts to someone like me, with little background in Theology.
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  • God, Marriage, and Family: Rebuilding the Biblical Foundation
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  • Overcoming Sin & Temptation
Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

Mark A. Driscoll is the founder and teaching pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Washington, as well as the co-founder of the Acts 29 Church Planting Network where he also served as President for a short period. Driscoll continues to serve on the board of Acts 29. He has contributed to the "Faith and Values"
More about Mark Driscoll

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