Primal: A Quest for the Lost Soul of Christianity

Primal (Multnomah, 2009)

Mark Batterson, lead pastor of National Community Church (Washington, D. C.) wrote Primal: A Quest for the Lost Soul of Christianity in 2009.  Just like prime numbers possess an indivisible quality, certain truths qualify as primal truths.  And chief among these truths is the Great Commandment (Matthew 22:37, Mark 12:30).  It’s Christianity in its most primal form.  Therefore, Pastor Batterson underscores, we need to rediscover what it means to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.  Think of it, Mark adds, as love to the fourth power.  Furthermore, going back to the foot of the cross helps us find our way forward.  As a Christ follower, you feel what Christ feels.  In sympathy breakthrough moments, you recapture lost parts of your soul and express compassion.  It’s the ultimate apologetic- there’s no defense against it.

However, the author observes, it’s much easier to act like a Christian than to react like one.  As others witness how we react, Mark stresses, the decibel level of our lives should be ear-piercing.  This occurs as we stick to our convictions rather than caving in to our circumstances.  Also, every act of generosity creates a ripple effect – and changes our hearts as well.  In addition, it’s vital to sustain a sense of wonder.  For a lack of wonder really indicates a lack of love.  Thus, we must approach God deductively as an object of knowledge.  Plus, we must approach Him inductively as a cause of wonder.  In other words, we need to think with both our mind and our soul.  Biblical meditation, then, fills the mind with the Word of God – in order to get the Word of God through you.

Through obedience to God’s Word, your life becomes a unique translation of the Bible.  It’s a way you love God with all your soul.  Yet, Pastor Batterson defines the true litmus test of spiritual maturity as knowing what you don’t know.  Consequently, this creates a holy curiosity.  And a true disciple consumed with holy curiosity doesn’t take yes for an answer.  So creativity is essential in every area of life.  And when creativity is used for God’s glory, it becomes an act of obedience, faith, and love.  In contrast, Mark equates lack of faith with the failure of imagination.  A lack of willingness to entertain thoughts that God’s able to do immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine.

Finally, Mark encourages, take captive the God ideas you conceive in your mind and make them obedient to Christ.  Also, prayer serves as a mechanism for conceiving and capturing God ideas.  Next, to get where God wants you to go – way beyond reasonableness – holy curiosity fuels the energy you invest and expend on behalf of the kingdom.  Using a why not approach to life births God-sized dreams and spurs you to action.  Yet, as a Christian, you must rely on God’s strength.  For the best you can do is the best God can do.  And the impact God’s planned for you occurs when you pursue God.  Pastor Batterson closes with these words:

Compassion, wonder, curiosity, and energy are nouns.  It’s our job to turn them into verbs.  It’s our highest calling and greatest privilege.”

About the author

Dave Henning


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