After reading In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day, I had a rough idea of what I was going to get from this book as well. I was right in that this book was worth my time reading it. Mark Batterson does a great job of challenging his readers to truly seek out what Christianity is all about. He shares stories from his personal life as well as from friends and members of the church he pastors, National Community Church. However, what makes this book worth reading is that it is not just based on his experiences or friends experiences; it is based on Scripture, God’s Word. With Scripture as a main driving force behind it, this book is of course going to challenge anyone who takes God’s Word as seriously as it should be taken.
Mark Batterson uses this book as a teaching on the topic of the greatest commandment in Scripture, taken from Mark 12:30: “Love the Lord your God with all your Heart, with all your Mind, with all your Soul and with all your Strength.” All the way through Primal, Mark gives readers a great perspective as to what it means to truly love God each of the four mentioned ways: heart, mind, soul and strength. Mark begins the book by sharing what even got his mind going towards the idea behind this book. He was on a trip to Rome with his wife and one church they visited was built over catacombs, which is where 1st and 2nd century Christians would have gathered together to worship. Let me share a paragraph from the book that will do a better job explaining what happened:
“As we navigated those claustrophobic catacombs, I was overcome by the fact that I was standing in a place where my spiritual ancestors risked everything, even their lives, to worship God. And I felt a profound mixture of gratitude and conviction. I live in a first-world country in the twenty-first century. And I’m grateful for the freedoms and blessings I enjoy because of where and when I live. But when you’re standing in an ancient catacomb, the comforts you enjoy make you uncomfortable. The things you complain about are convicting. And some of the sacrifices you’ve made for the cause of Christ might not even qualify under a second-century definition.
As I tried to absorb the significance of where I was, I couldn’t help but wonder if our generation has conveniently forgotten how inconvenient it can be to follow in the footsteps of Christ…” (p. 2-3)
That paragraph and sentence are just a portion of what this book is all about. It is a book that will have you looking forward to when you pick it up again, not just because it is an emotional draw, but because it hits home. Primal will have you looking into what you say you follow and believe and have you asking yourself whether or not you are even trying to live out the greatest commandment of loving God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength. It is a tough order to follow and yet Mark does not leave you at the doorstep feeling discouraged. He helps you take a look at your life and find out where you might not be giving everything you could, or should, to Christ.
All in all, I highly recommend this book for any Christian who wants to be a fully committed follower of Christ. It will challenge and encourage you to look through your life and even question if you are missing something God might want to do for you and through you. So go ahead and pick up this book and begin the Quest of finding the Lost Soul of Christianity. Let me leave you with a few quotes from the book:
“When we lose our sense of wonder, what we really lose is our soul. Our lack of wonder is really a lack of love.” – p. 51
“Obedience will open the eyes of your understanding far more than any commentary or concordance could.” – p. 80
“God won’t grow us beyond our ability to disciple people” (in regards to his church) – p. 124
I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review as a part of their Blogging for Books program.