Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Primal -- Book Review

If you've read this blog for awhile, you know that Mark Batterson is one of my very favorite authors of all time. His knowledge is so diverse; he's one of the most well read people I "know"; and he has the rare talent of making the most complex ideas accessible to everyone and seeming to do so without any effort! His newest book, Primal, is fabulous -- as expected.

Mark takes the Shema of the Old Testament (Deuteronomy 6:5), the most important commandment according to Yeshua/Jesus (Mark 12:30), and discusses how one can truly love God "with all your heart, soul, mind and strength". In typical Batterson fashion, he explains loving God with your entire being by drawing not only on scriptures, but also psychology, science and real life analogies.

In a word, I love this book.

Having said that, I would be remiss with one tiny portion of Mark's book with which I disagree. At the beginning of the book, Mark is trying to explain why this is God's greatest commandments. He says that the Pharisees were guilty of making man-made commandments (they were) and that they created 613 commandments from the Old Testament. The fact of the matter is, GOD created 613 commandments in the Torah (and 1050 in the New Testament). The Pharisees (and priests and other leaders) then added to God's 613 commandments by creating "fences" around God's commandments. Let me give you an example. One of God's commandments was (and is) to honor the Sabbath by doing no work. That's one of the 613. The Pharisees then commanded the people not to carry a needle on the sabbath because if you didn't have a needle, you couldn't work at sewing. For the record, their intent in establishing these man-made laws was not evil; originally they created these "fences" around God's commandments so the people of Israel would not unintentionally break God's commandments.

Aside from that one point in Mark Batterson's book with which I take issue, the rest of the book was truly excellent. Primal will inspire you to go back to the heart of the matter, to what is truly important with respect to your relationship with God, and it will challenge you to serve Him better and more completely. I strongly recommend this book.

Unfortunately, I don't have a copy of Primal to give away, but it's well worth the money to order several copies (you'll want to give them away). Here's the link to purchase this great book:


Below is the summary from the publisher:


Be Astonished Again

We have a tendency to complicate Christianity. Jesus simplified it: Love God with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength. If we are to live out the essence of Christianity, we must commit to being great at this Great Commandment.

In Primal, Mark Batterson explores the four elements of Great Commandment Christianity: compassion, wonder, curiosity, and power. Along the way, he calls you to be a part of God’s reformation, starting in your own life.

As Mark writes, “Is there a place in your past where you met God and God met you? A place where your heart broke for the things that break the heart of God? Maybe it was a sermon that became more than a sermon. Maybe it was a mission trip or retreat. Maybe it was a vow you made at an altar. In that moment, God birthed something supernatural in your spirit. You knew you’d never be the same again. My prayer is that this book would take you back to that burning bush—and reignite a primal faith.”

Primal will help you live in light of what matters most and discover what it means to love God. It will help you become great at the Great Commandment.

This was book was provided for review by WaterBrook Multnomah.

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