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Primal by Mark Batterson

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The Advocate

Primal by Mark Batterson

Reviewed by Dale Lewis

"Primal is an authentic discussion into fully understanding the Great Commandment."

In this age of spirituality and many other preferred ways to God, Batterson notes Jesus simplified Christianity with “Love God with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength.” Sadly, the church has complicated this message, often beyond recognition, and is now seen more negatively than ever in today’s culture.

Located on the back cover is Batterson’s simple challenge, "What would your Christianity look like if it were stripped down to the simplest faith possible? You would have more, not less. You would have the beginning of a new reformation-in your generation, your church, your own soul. You would have primal Christianity."

Primal is an authentic discussion into fully understanding the Great Commandment. It is not about accumulating more knowledge but following through in obedience to what we already know. . . an engaging reformation in rediscovering the call of Jesus to love God above all. The author sees this reformation becoming a movement of reformers living creatively, compassionately, courageously for the cause of Christ and His Kingdom.

Mark Batterson extends an open invitation to be astonished again. He writes from a pastoral heart exploring the foundational elements of Great Commandment Christianity: compassion, wonder, curiosity, and power. Each section is unique in its presentation, poignant and powerful in its message. Personal illustrations as well as engaging stories from the church he pastors in Washington, DC are sprinkled throughout the pages.

He is passionately gentle but is also aggressively challenging as seen in this pull-quote from page 75: “One of the common complaints people make when leaving a church is this, ‘I’m not being fed!’ As a preacher, I make it my goal to nourish our congregation via a well-rounded diet of sermons. If you’re not being fed, it’s your fault. I’m afraid we have unintentionally fostered a subtle form of spiritual codependency in our churches. If you are relying on a preacher to be fed, I fear for you. A sermon is no replacement for firsthand knowledge.”

If you allow the Holy Spirit to do His work, Primal will exhort and frustrate you. It won’t be enough to just read this book and then pat yourself on the back; you will walk away slightly irritated in a good sense and destined for obedient action to the Great Commandment. At this time in my faith journey, I needed to read and reflect on his thoughts . . . I needed to see that I had indeed lost my wonder and curiosity, and as a result, my relationship with God suffered.

I wholeheartedly recommend Primal and Mark Batterson’s other books!

Dale Lewis now mans the front desk at the EFCA (The Evangelical Free Church of America) National Office in Minneapolis, MN. He was the graphic designer/pre-press production artist for over twelve years before being asked to step into this new role. Prior to that, he was the publications manager at his alma mater, Northwestern College in St. Paul, MN in the public relations office as well as the adviser to the college’s yearbook. He's a director/actor/writer for the Hope Church (Oakdale, MN) adult drama worship team and was the senior editor of the church newsletter. He's also written two collections of poetry, “Whispers of Assurance” and “On Life: Constant Communion Without Ceasing” as well as a devotional entitled “Eternal Education.” He and his family live in Oakdale, Minnesota.