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The Radical Reformission: Reaching Out Without Selling Out Paperback – 23 Sep 2004

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Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan; First edition (23 Sept. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310256593
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310256595
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 1.2 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 648,900 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Reformation is the continual reforming of the mission of the church to enhance God's command to reach out to others in a way that acknowledges the unique times and locations of daily life. This engaging book blends the integrity of respected theoreticians with the witty and practical insights of a pastor. It calls for a movement of missionaries to seek the lost across the street as well as across the globe. This basic primer on the interface between gospel and culture highlights the contrast between presentation evangelism and participation evangelism. It helps Christians navigate between the twin pitfalls of syncretism (being so culturally irrelevant that you lose your message) and sectarianism (being so culturally irrelevant that you lose your mission). Included are interviews with those who have crossed cultural barriers, such as a television producer, exotic dancer, tattoo studio owner, and band manager. The appendix represents eight portals into the future: population, family, health/medicine, creating, learning, sexuality, and religion. Mark Driscoll was recently featured on the ABC special The Changing of Worship.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Frazer on 5 Sept. 2008
Format: Paperback
Refformission isn't necessary very new or Radical, but this book is excellent! It has in many ways changed my attitudes towards Church and Christianity.

It is an incredibly accessible book, where I was left wanting more and to my joy was not left with out when I found out about Driscoll's next book; "Confessions of a Reformission Rev". Equally as provocative and engaging!

At the end of each chapter there are a few questions about the content of the chapter, which is very helpful for group discussion or own personal reflection, which is what is needed when thinking corporately or individually about what is said. Both I think are needed!

Christianity and Church according to the Bible and Jesus is apparently life changing, it affects every facet of life, this book is a reminder of that and encourages every Christian to be hospitable, brutally honest in love, and applicable to whatever generation we may find ourselves in with out leaving bits out of the gospel, which means "good news", if it is good news, why keep it to ourselves or in the last century or even centuries ago?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Pollin on 11 Jun. 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Mark Driscoll pulls no punches and as such in a postmodern age when nobody says anything about anything it is a very refreshing break from the Norm. I enjoyed this book, it is instructive and is rife with fresh Ideas about how to do Church in the 21st Century without betraying Biblical principles. You may not agree with all he says but do give it a try and don't be afraid to laugh, your allowed to!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By C. J. Barratt on 16 Mar. 2008
Format: Paperback
This is probably the most challeging Christian book I have read for a few years and summonses us to change our thinking on mission; if you're sitting there thinking the church is rapidly heading for oblivion then this book is for you! Mark tells us that today's mission field starts on our doorstep; he describes 'Reformission' as a radical call for Christians and Christian churches to recommit to living and speaking the gospel, and to resist the pressure to compromise its truth.

Mark is founding pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle and well known to many more through his travelling and his podcasts. He challenges us to repent of our self-righteousness and to get on with the task of the great commission.

Mark writes intelligently, using clear conceptual models and drawing from research to support his material and yet, his message is clearly inspired and annointed, extremely readable, very blunt, provocative and will surely challenge his readers into action!

Each section ends with a set of reformission questions which makes the book ideal for house groups, and should enable them to transfer from Mark's experience of Seattle in to their own particular cultures where-ever they may be.
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Format: Paperback
Reaching out without selling out. Explains the importance of us being cultuarally relevant, by being aware of our culture and warns us about becoming to indulged with our culture that we change the gospel to suit it but also warns about becoming so fearful that we cut ourselves off from our culture and fail what Jesus told us to do... which is spreading the word of the gospel. Fun, challenging but altogether a good read. I really enjoyed it for entertainment and would probably read it again just because the message is extremely important
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 59 reviews
51 of 52 people found the following review helpful
Refreshing. Engaging. 24 Sept. 2006
By Brian G Hedges - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is one of the most refreshing and engaging books on church/culture that I've read, and is probably THE best book I've read from a leader in the emerging church.

Driscoll contends that as believers we must be concerned about three things: the gospel, the church, and the culture. When we neglect one of these three elements, we fall into one of three errors:

The Church + The Culture - The Gospel = Liberalism

The Church + The Gospel - The Culture = Fundamentalism

The Gospel + The Culture - The Church = Parachurch

I think this is slightly reductionistic, but it still provokes reflection. Driscoll's book is a plea for the church to be faithful to the gospel within the culture - not by isolating itself from the culture. He says, of course, that faithfulness to the gospel involves some measure of separation. As Christians, we are different - called out of darkness into light - and this will affect our life-styles and ethics. But Driscoll also contends that Christian liberty must be maintained in areas where Scripture is silent - and that our liberty should be used for the sake of reaching culture.

Of course, culture looks different in Seattle than it does in the Midwest, where I minister. Driscoll's church looks different than ours, with lots of tattooed, pierced, young Christians decked out in Gothic clothing and make-up! But Driscoll rightly argues that becoming a Christian doesn't necessitate a conversion to wearing business attire (like a middle-class, white suburban American Christian), but rather a conversion to Christ and His kingdom. As I said, this is a thought-provoking book.

Be warned, however: reading this book will probably provoke a variety of deep and intense emotional responses, including laughter (Driscoll is hilarious), shock (Driscoll breaks all the conventions that you would expect of a Christian author), and (hopefully) excitement, as you hear of what God has done in his life and through his life and ministry in the lives of others.
34 of 38 people found the following review helpful
Reads like Mark preaches and that's great. 23 Oct. 2004
By Noel Lloyd - Published on
Format: Paperback
Started attending Mars Hill Church, where Mark Discoll is the head teaching elder, a little over a year ago. Only very serious problems can keep us away on Sunday. I'm twice the age of the average member/attendee, but Mark preaches old time religion applied to today's culture and I and about 2,500 others seem very comfortable with both. Mark is very real, sometimes shocking and shows real grace. Week after week my wife and I ask each other "Is that the best sermon we've ever heard AGAIN?"

What you get in RR is what I see happening at Mars Hill, along with Mark's humor and wisdom that's beyond his years. I've been a believer for 35 years and I'm as excited about Jesus as I've ever been and due in no small part to the vision you read about in this book. Would I feel the same way if I wasn't watching Mark practice what he preaches up close and personal? Maybe not, but when I read it, I could honestly say I saw RR being worked out and it's authentic.

Read RR, log on to the MHC web site, stream the sermons, praise God and have a blast.
37 of 43 people found the following review helpful
new reformation 23 Sept. 2004
By Drew E. Goodmanson - Published on
Format: Paperback
Mark Driscoll's work on living on the balance of syncretism/sectarianism is critical to the church as we struggle between moralism and 'selling out'. His work has had a profound impact on his church and church pastors across the country. This book is a must read whether you are an 'emerging' pastor or if you have been in the ministry for decades. I pray it is a wake up call to a radical but necessary place of tension.
28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
I can't believe he just said that. 20 Sept. 2004
By K. Carter - Published on
Format: Paperback
Driscoll's sense of humor is rather twisted. His willingness to say aloud what others forbid themselves to even think is refreshing. His views are thought provoking. His concepts in practice are enlightening. Some people "will" find parts of Radical Reformission offensive. My parents were offended by the copy I gave them. But they are now buying more copies and recommending it to everyone. RR will show you how to use your freedom to set others free. Thank you Jesus for Pastor Driscoll.
14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Some helpful, some not so much 17 Feb. 2009
By In Process - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Mark Driscoll wrote this book so that Christians will step out of our comfort zones and share the gospel with those outside our front door. Radical Reformission is "a radical call for Christians and Christian churches to recommit to living and speaking the gospel, and to do so regardless of the pressures to compromise the truth of the gospel or to conceal its power within the safety of the church" (pg 20) We Christians must repent of our lack of love for our fellow man when we have failed to share the truth of the Gospel just because people do not match our cultural preference. For this, I heartily appreciate and agree. However, I must say that I also have some concerns.

Some of Driscoll's helpful insights:
- We Christians should be "building friendships for the purpose of showing and sharing the love of Jesus with lost people...evangelism is done by the whole church." (pg 66)
- We Christians must repent of self-righteousness and cling to God's "power of the gospel of grace." (pg 77-78) We must be clear that we do not "impose man made rules in the name of achieving holiness", which is in effect Pharisaical (pg 140).
- We Christians must be careful and attentive to our "church cultures" (pg 101). We must recognize that we may have "different personal convictions that are not necessarily sinful" according to biblical prescription (pg 103).
- Like Jonah and the plant, we Christians cans love THINGS that God has provided "more than our great cities and the spiritually blind people who annoy us." (pg 106)
- Addressing the need for heart transformation (versus mere behavioral change), Driscoll says, "...if we aspire to seek any change in our culture, we must resist the temptation to first change the culture. Instead, we Christians must begin by bringing the gospel to people so that they can be given a new heart out of which a Christian life flows. As more people live out of their new heart, new families, churches, businesses, and governments will result that together will transform culture." (pg 110)
- For us Christians, "...too often the evangelistic task of speaking about Jesus is promoted as a work or something we must do, rather than as an overflowing of joy within us that explodes out of us because we have met God in Christ." (pg 143)
- Finally, Driscoll provides a short but very helpful list of Biblical Principles for Cultural Decision making (pg 104). I would prefer to have seen an exposition and "fleshing out" of these texts instead of some of the extraneous stories that seem to serve as shock effect.

Some of my concerns on this work:
1.) Is it necessary that the Gospel must be "contextualized" to make it "accessible"? (pg 55-56) The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation for both Jews and Greeks (Rom 1:16-17). In our sinful flesh, we Christians can so easily replace the power of the Gospel message itself with culturally-attractive gimmicks. "Do you dig Jesus?" is no replacement for explaining a sinner's dire predicament before a holy God and His provision in Jesus Christ's substitutionary atonement.
2.) To what degree do we immerse ourselves into culture to faithfully share the gospel? Is it necessary or advisable to listen to a "sexual talk program" or read "Cosmo Girl magazine" (pg 131) to successfully engage the culture with the gospel? Can we cross the line and speak in an inappropriate manner according to Scriptural standards in order to capture the attention of culture? The subtitle of this book is "reaching out without selling out." One way that we can "sell out" is by substituting the priority of Scriptural faithfulness with a desire to be culturally relevant. In one portion of the book, Driscoll appropriately chides churches that try to appease the preferences of different age groups. He makes the valid observation that people are highly complex and cannot be pinned down as a monolith according to particular age generalizations (pg 128). I would argue that we should extend Driscoll's conclusions to culture-at-large. Culture is complex and always changing and is, thus, a "moving target." I would argue that a Christian should engage but NOT be consumed with riding "the next wave of culture." Instead, the Christian's focus should be on Jesus Christ and His all-sufficient word which are always relevant.
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