Book Review: Make Love Make War

Unique.  Thought-Provoking.  Personal.  Christ-centered.

All these words come to mind when reading the new book Make Love, Make War by songwriter Brian Doerksen.  Although you may not have heard his name, if you listen to contemporary worship you certainly have heard his songs such as “Come, Now Is The Time to Worship” and “Hallelujah, Your Love Makes Me Sing.”  Brian has given the church a wealth of wonderful songs and ministry over the past twenty years, and Make Love Make War is another creative gift.

Each of the twelve chapters is structured around one of his songs.  After introducing the song, he talks about the circumstances of his life that led up to the song, whether it was a wise-cracking comment to a fellow songwriter or the dark valleys of raising two special needs sons.  He then digs deeper, going into the theological underpinnings of each song and how he views both the church’s needs and responses to the song.  He ends each chapter with a series of practical tips for songwriting based on the song as well.

This book worked for me on multiple levels.  First, I appreciated getting to know Brian as a person, his joys and struggles, his transparency and his love for Christ.  Second, although I am not a songwriter, his descriptions of his creative process and tips resonated with my own as a devotional prose writer.

But the greatest value of this book are his insights on the nature of worship in the church today.  He is frank in his discussion of both what is right and what is wrong in much contemporary worship with comments such as:

When we worship, we do what Satan abandoned long ago— and the enemy does everything he can to stop us from worshipping, because when we worship, he remembers.

and…

The modern worship culture of the megachurch makes it much easier to sing the big, shiny, happy anthems.  But that culture of happy appearances and upbeat performances is keeping some brokenhearted people away from churches of all sizes.

Make Love Make War is must reading if you’re involved in worship ministry, and it is a great read for anyone.  I enjoyed this book, but more importantly I was challenged by this book.  Highly recommended.

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