Mark Driscoll, the preaching and theology pastor at Mars Hill Church in Seattle, was kind enough to answer a few questions from me on his latest book, Who Do You Think You Are?
1. You recently released a book titled, “Who Do You Think You Are?” Can you share where the title came from?
It’s a bit of an aggressive question, intended to elicit consideration from people. I want people to think about that question as it’s often one we don’t consciously reflect on at a very deep level.
2. What inspired you to write a book about identity? Was it a trend you observed in the culture and different Christian circles or was it simply because of the truths found in Scripture?
I have been wanting to preach through Ephesians for some years. I have been studying the book trying to figure out how to communicate it in a fresh and helpful manner. Then, as I dug into the book I discovered that most commentators believe the big idea is identity formation with the big idea of being “in Christ” referred to more than thirty times in various ways throughout the book. I then began praying through the implications of this timeless biblical truth for our time as a Christian, husband, father, and pastor.
3. Can you ever be certain of your being in Christ? If so, how?
By definition a Christian is one who is in Christ. At the cross, Jesus Christ traded places with them. He took their position of condemnation and placed them in his place of blessing. Those who faith is in Jesus Christ can be certain that their identity for eternity is in Christ.
4. In Chapter 2, you say that God gives us something better than a biography, he gives us a testimony. How can the testimony of departed believers like Charles Spurgeon (who you’ve said you’re a fan of) encourage Christians today?
Biographies tend to downplay our sin and weakness and present us as our savior – the one who changed our life and fate. Testimonies are honest about our sin and weakness and present Jesus as our Savior – the one who alone changed our life and eternal fate. The world loves biographies. No less than 8 of the 10 films up for a Best Film Oscar are based upon a real biography of someones life. A testimony is better than a biography because it glorifies God rather than me. Relatedly, it is incredibly helpful for Christians to read testimonies of godly people and how Jesus worked in their life. One of my all time favorites is the great British preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon and sitting on my desk is a handwritten letter from him to a friend. My wife Grace bought me the four volume first edition set of books written by Spurgeon on his life that was finished by his wife after his death. This is the original source that the other books about Spurgeon are based on. It is some of my favorite reading and the books I enjoy the most outside of the Bible.
5. Just for fun, what were your favorite 3 books you read in 2012?
I am a freak. At any time I literally have dozens of books I am reading along with commentaries for sermons and every day check everything on the Associated Press along with dozens of other news outlets. I don’t have a favorite author or book. I grab bits and pieces from everywhere and like to synthesize information and put it together in an attempt to learn new things and get new perspectives.
6. Any final thoughts you’d like to share with the readers today?
You may be dependable or a flake. Smart or simple. Beautiful or not so much. Tough or weak. A parent or infertile. Skinny or formerly skinny. The life of the party or a wall flower. Rich or poor. Single or married. Married or divorced. Loved or hated. Organized or a mess. Winner or loser. Joyful or depressed. Those things may explain you, but they do not define you. You are not your worst day. You are not your best day. You are not who you think you are or who others say you are. You are who God says you are. You are not what you do, or what you fail to do. You are what Christ has done for you. Your identity is received not achieved. You can live from your identity instead of for your identity. This is the one thing that changes everything.