05 May 2009

Preaching: beware the "And you are...?" factor

by Dan Phillips

I listened to Mark Driscoll's — what would you call it? Not a sermon, exactly. Nor an address. Sort of a talk. Really, more of a vent, or a catharsis. Anyway, whatever it was, he gave it at The Gospel Coalition, it is online, I listened, and I shared my impressions here.

Now I have one more thought which, I think and hope, will be instructive for us all.

I was reflecting on the talk/vent/rant, and I imagined another conference. By a multiple-miracle, this is another convention, featuring John Calvin, John Knox, Charles Spurgeon, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, and Mark Driscoll. They all can speak English, and they all present sermons.

When Calvin finishes, all the others say "Amen. Glory to God. Christ was exalted."

Knox finishes, and all say the same. Spurgeon, the same. Lloyd-Jones, the same.

Driscoll then gets up to speak. He offers the exact talk he just gave at the Gospel Coalition.

When he sits down, there is silence, and blinking. After a moment, John Calvin leans forward, a finger raised. He wants to ask a question. Driscoll nods to him. Calvin clears his throat. His question is:
"And you are...?"
Now I know what you're thinking. I would think exactly the same. You are thinking, "Phillips... dude... you don't think they'd say the exact same thing to you?"

I'm glad you asked that question!

No, you are absolutely right. They wouldn't know me from Alley Oop. And here's my point: my prayer would be that it wouldn't matter.

My prayer would be that I would preach Christ (Colossians 1:27-28), that I would preach the Word of God (2 Timothy 4:1-2), in such a way that it didn't matter who was doing the preaching. That they would not have to know all about me — my temperament, my trials, my sufferings, my gnarled life — in order to understand what I was preaching. That I would preach not myself, but Christ Jesus as Lord, and myself as their servant. (And so, that anything they did know of me would not detract from my preaching.)

And that is what sticks with me and troubles me about Driscoll's talk. It was about him, to a large degree. He was the backdrop, context, and refrain.

I think about the others I've heard. Keller? Preached Christ as the idol-smasher. I didn't have to know anything about Keller. M'man Lig Duncan? Preached Christ's grace and power. I didn't have to know anything about Lig Duncan. Ditto John Piper. Ditto every other I've heard from the conference.

Except Driscoll.

Or take D. A. Carson. Now, there's a man who's had a positive, constructive Christian life! Pastoral work, academics, world travel; towering international scholar, evangelist. And what did he do when he took the podium? Brief word, then dove right into the text. At the end, he illustrated the text with a few vignettes from his life.

Now, here's the thing. You don't know my heart, most of you. The Driscoll Defense-Squad will say I'm bashing, attacking. Honestly I don't mean to. I know this is a hard word, I've hesitated about sharing it, and I say it reluctantly.

I pray for Mark Driscoll. I think he's taken a really worrisome, dangerous turn. I think he was offered some very credible, loving, necessary, sober, mature, Biblical criticism that he really hated to hear. Instead of humbling himself like a wise man, taking it to heart, dealing forthrightly, and being the better for it, he's built Fort Driscoll, and I don't think everything's happiness and light inside. If he doesn't deal forthrightly, I just don't see good things ahead. In that scenario, nobody wins.

The First Rule of Holes is: when you're in one, stop digging.

Now, I wish honesty didn't compel me to say this, but I can identify, though from a vastly smaller arena, and not one in which everyone in the universe seemingly was watching and holding up score cards. One pastorate was particularly difficult for me. I felt myself embattled. When you're under fire, you come to see the text through the filter of your battle, and you run the risk of producing pesher instead of exposition. You and your pain color everything, and that's not good in any language. So yeah, I pray for Driscoll. You should too.

And now I say this: brothers, pray for yourselves, too. Pray God that He fill your eyes and heart with Christ and His word. Go up there to preach Him and it. Preach so that Calvin or the others wouldn't care that they didn't know you. Preach so that no one has to know much of anything about you, in order to know Christ and God's Word better as a result of your sermon.

Otherwise, really, what are we in it for?

Dan Phillips's signature

99 comments:

ezekiel said...

"otherwise, what are we in it for"

Jud 1:11 Woe to them! For they have run riotously in the way of Cain, and have abandoned themselves for the sake of gain [it offers them, following] the error of Balaam, and have perished in rebellion [like that] of Korah! [Gen. 4:3-8; Num. 16; 22-24.]

Matt said...

Dan, I like the honest and yet brotherly tone of this post.

Thanx!

Penn Tomassetti said...

That was the most refreshing exhortation post I've ever read on your blog... seriously. I'm not a pulpit preacher or anything like that, but am deeply blessed by this exhortation to do what Psalm 71:15 says, "My mouth shall tell of Your righteousness And of Your salvation all day long; For I do not know the sum of them."Grace and peace in our Lord.

The Squirrel said...

Dan,

You mean that I'm not the focus of my ministry?

:o)

I would wish that people would not keep giving Driscoll these national stages at conferences like The Gospel Coalition until and unless there is true repentance, and fruit in keeping with same.

~Squirrel

Pastor Jody said...

Dan,

Spot on! We all need to be reminded of this from time to time.

"Uh, who am I? Nobody!" and that's the point.

danny2 said...

couple thoughts...

a) why does knox get to preach twice?

b) i completely misunderstood what you meant when you said, "and you are?" at the beginning. rather than having calvin wonder, "and who is this mark driscoll guy anyway?" i was thinking in light of driscoll's message. "mark, which negative do you tend to be?" i thought that was where you were going to go.

at risk of sounding terribly hypocritical, driscoll's message was not a healthy one for me to hear. when people come to me with criticism, my default position is simply to consider them a "negative" who needs to get on board with the "positives" i am accomplishing. in and of myself, i don't listen. i don't evaluate myself. i dismiss them.

i would have loved to have heard driscoll take this to the cross. to confess our fleshly tendency to never be satisfied and strive against others. to express the work of Christ that He emptied Himself for our sake, and though reviled did not revile in return.

sadly, i know many pastors don't bother to make the sermon Christ centered. but i expected otherwise from driscoll, for i feel in the past i've heard him keep the focus on Christ.

HeavyDluxe said...

Well said, Diggity-Dan.

DJP said...

danny2why does knox get to preach twice?

Uh, because he insisted that... er, he was so... so....

OK, I screwed up. I'll fix it.

Taken down by a guy who doesn't use his Shift key. This is going to be a bad day.

Pete said...

Driscoll may be a buffoon. That said, we've got to be careful who we place as our model for Christian preaching and teaching. Though Calvin, Knox, Spurgeon, and Lloyd-Jones were all talented men, it's not clear that they should set the standard. Better to strive to imitate Christ. Better to point out where Driscoll falls short of that standard.

steve s said...

Dan,
He used his shift key in the places where it counts!

DJP said...

Good point.

SCN said...

sounds to me like there are some of you that are jealous of Mark and a little disappointed that Phil's unfair and hypocritical attack from a few weeks ago really didn't have the desired affect. Yeah, it was a big hit on TeamPyro's blog, but Mark just ignored it and apparently so did just about everyone else. Maybe you guys are barking up the wrong tree?

DJP said...

Interesting thought.

Now read the post, and tell us what you think afterwards.

Zach said...

Well said Dan. Well said.

If indeed a genuine conversion ever happened to Driscoll, then I hope it's the Lord using you Pyros and MacArthur as the slicing blades that tear away the dragon crust that liberates Eustace.

Solameanie said...

I'll never forget being on the platform of an Evangelical Free Church here locally. I walked past the pulpit (yes, it actually still had one) and saw this small golden gleam on the lectern where the pastor would put his Bible and notes. My curiosity aroused, I walked over and took a look. It was a small golden plate that had been screwed into the wood. It read, and I quote . . .

"Sir, we would see Jesus."

I think that will remain with me until I assume room temperature, or am translated.

Fred Butler said...

Though Calvin, Knox, Spurgeon, and Lloyd-Jones were all talented men, it's not clear that they should set the standard.Why? All of these men had seismic influence upon the Church of God, primarily because of their proclamation of holy Scripture first and foremost. Granted we don't make inappropriate heroes of them, but they all have set a bar in which the rest of us should strive. The imperishable fruit of their labor has given them that place.

Johnny Dialectic said...

As a pastor, I thought his exhortation to the other pastors, grounded in the text (especially on the "positive" side) was encouraging--the point of his talk at a pastor's conference. He's obviously a gifted communicator. I have heard other talks of his where I could argue with this or that, but what pastor has ever hit .1000? Not one. This talk I liked a great deal.

I didn't think this address was "about him." It was about Timothy and, mainly, about helping the pastors who were listening. I don't see anything wrong with that. Personally, I'm glad I heard it.

alanreynolds said...

I love reading this blog. It's frustrating, but thought-provoking. Even if I don't fully agree, it's challenging. I appreciate the willingness to take a stance and be firm. I really feel this way.

But........

How many times are we going to bash Driscoll? Seriously. I know it's popular and trendy, and easy enough if we want to do so. But I, for one, have read enough. It's tired, silly, and nothing new has been said in quite some time.

I listened to his Gospel Coalition talk after reading what you had to say about it, so that I could hear it with these things in mind. Didn't hear it in the way that you present. Read the other blog as well, and didn't see these things. I was looking for these negatives (your list, not Driscoll's), and couldn't find them.

I'm not a defender of Driscoll. Even if I was, no one has time to defend him. But this has got to stop. It's insane. And, if we realize that all the bashing of Driscoll just makes him hunker down and basically gives him strength, then why keep going on about him?

It is really beginning to feel like a bunch of middle school kids going at it.

Fred Butler said...

sounds to me like there are some of you that are jealous of Mark and a little disappointed that Phil's unfair and hypocritical attack from a few weeks ago really didn't have the desired affect. Yeah, it was a big hit on TeamPyro's blog, but Mark just ignored it and apparently so did just about everyone else.The fact that he wandered around in his message and had no real stated point to what he was getting at except to say he is a martyr attacked by mean people demonstrates to me he has something heavy on his heart. He sounded conflicted and divided. The unstable man of James. I hope it is godly conviction that will bring him to repentance.

More than likely Phil's criticisms have had a much greater impact on him than you want to admit.

DJP said...

Fair enough, Alan, Johnny. I put the link to his talk at both sites for that very purpose: so people can hear and draw their own conclusions.

Tournifreak said...

Zach,

"If indeed a genuine conversion ever happened to Driscoll..."

You may disagree with him, you might not like him, you might discourage your kids from being part of his church, you may not think he's fit to be a pastor. But surely you can't read his books and hear his gospel preaching and question whether he's actually a brother in Christ????

ZSB said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
stratagem said...

I've listened to some of Driscoll's stuff, and concluded in my onw mind that he is brilliance mixed with immaturity. Therefore, he is doing exactly what we should expect immature people to do: Vent and rage at criticism, rather than taking it to heart; being here and there in his thinking (e.g., being emergent, then not), and so on. I'm not sure it's fair to expect such a man to be on the same level as these other men who are, after all, paper pastors who we remember at their most mature stages, rather than as young men. Maybe Mark will mature as time goes on - until then, he probably shouldn't be leading others, though, without a coach, and what he says should be examined critically until then.

DJP said...

ZSB

Blah, blah, blah, didn't read the post, have a kneejerk reaction anyway, blah, blah, YAWN.

stratagem said...

Zack: Why you wearin' horns in your profile pic, bud?

ZSB said...

Blah, blah, blah, Mark Driscoll doesn't preach Christ, Reformed celebrity feud, blah, blah, YAWN.

(I *did* read the post). I read them all.

DJP said...

Those aren't horns.

They're contextualizations.

ZSB said...

That's a stained glass window of the cross behind me. But perhaps you're looking for horns???

Pete said...

If the problem is that Driscoll's messages are about himself, then he's at least not venturing far beyond his expertise. These days preachers are going well beyond the message of Christ, dabbling in areas in which they are largely unlearned and inept: politics, ethics, philosophy, economics, psychology, biology, etc. While preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness, the preaching of these other things is just plain foolishness.

tallskinnykiwi said...

God help us all to die to self and live for him.

i love George Whitefield's famous quote:

"Let the name of Whitefield perish, but Christ be glorified."

"Let my name die everywhere, let even my friends forget me, if by that means the cause of the blessed Jesus may be promoted."

http://www.geocities.com/webofrob/quotations/GeorgeWhitefieldDallimore.html

tallskinnykiwi said...

this is where you say

"ok, tsk, we heard you the first time!!!"

DJP said...

Some things bear repeating.

Hooser said...

I'm waiting for your criticism of Luther now. I think many of the criticisms leveled against Driscoll about 'rants' and such are child's play next to some of the things Luther said. And for what it's worth, you might want to base your criticism of the guy after listening to more than just one hearing. I've listened to a number of sermons of his and frankly I don't see what you're talking about.

DJP said...

Could you point me to the place where I said my intent was to analyze and respond to every message Driscoll ever delivered? That would be helpful.

Thanks.

Hayden said...

No man who is full of himself can ever truly preach the Christ who emptied Himself.--- J. Sidlow Baxter

(next to my desk on the wall as I prepare to preach I remind myself of this)

PS This is not directed to anyone in particular, you can contextualize as you wish.

stratagem said...

They sure look like horns, at first glance. You should really go with a green background and colored dots.

Penn Tomassetti said...

I though this post was about preaching Christ, not about Mark Driscoll so much. I must have been mistaken.

Anyway, I listened to Mark Driscoll's message and thought it was a good one for Pastors.

Pastor's and preaching are touchy, so I believe the letter of 2 Timothy is absolutely needed, and so is keeping Christ central as our focus and worship.

Lisa Nunley said...

Dan,
Great post. I appreciate your sincere tone. It truly exemplifies speaking the truth in love.

Zach said...

Tournifreak,

Thanks for your point. I may be overreaching, granted. I want badly to wholeheartedly support Driscoll and for him to be the modern-day Luther, but I'm watching for the long-term fruit, specifically, of what comes from the pulpit.

The Pyros have accurately contrasted what comes from the Driscoll's pulpit vs. Luther's. Key word is pulpit. Luther's "followers" too often took matters into their own hands, not unlike the pro-Driscoll Shep. Conference bathroom grafitti that happened right after Phil spoke.

The fruit of the pulpit manifests itself in the works of the listeners.

troutdude said...

..ummm... I listened to this "in context" and would agree with Johnny Dialectic. It would seem his address was offered as an encouragement to pastors. In my opinion, exposition is taken for granted in the context of a gospel coalition conference. It seems that Mark was offering pastoral observations based on ministry experience. He resonated with me. And God bless him, he was Spurgeonesque... who once quipped he'd rather induce one minute of laughter in a sermon than an hour of profound slumber.

Phil Johnson said...

Hooser: "I'm waiting for your criticism of Luther now.

Here you go.

Penn Tomassetti said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Marie said...

I pray for Mark Driscoll. I think he's taken a really worrisome, dangerous turn. I think he was offered some very credible, loving, necessary, sober, mature, Biblical criticism that he really hated to hear. Instead of humbling himself like a wise man, taking it to heart, dealing forthrightly, and being the better for it, he's built Fort Driscoll, and I don't think everything's happiness and light inside. If he doesn't deal forthrightly, I just don't see good things ahead. In that scenario, nobody wins.Same thing is happening on a smaller scale in women's ministry with Beth Moore. I think this is a natural result of the "cult of personality" and celebrity preaching that's sprung up - it leads to a sort of pride and spiritual smugness that makes the most popular ones think they're untouchable. When unsound doctrine is questioned, they cry foul and pull out the persecution card. Yet their "talks" are, in fact, mainly all about them and not about Christ. It's sad.

Penn Tomassetti said...

What does it matter what I think anyway??

You are a smart guy Dan. Thanks for sharing the wisdom. It always takes me some time to think it over.

stratagem said...

This article is about preaching Christ? Whaaa...?
You must need to spend some more time getting relevent. Try this link for sudden coolness:
here

Pete said...

"Could you point me to the place where I said my intent was to analyze and respond to every message Driscoll ever delivered?"

DJP, this rhetorical question seems out of place. Is someone accusing you of this?

Daniel said...

Pete, read the comment by Hooser just prior to the one by DJP, and you will have the context for DJP's comment.

The Squirrel said...

stratagem:

That link is just sad. Very sad.

We, the church, have a big problem...

~Squirrel

Pete said...

Daniel, I also thought that DJP was responding to Hoosier. However, after reading Hoosier's comment twice I saw that it is neither supposing nor suggesting that DJP's "intent was to analyze and respond to every message Driscoll ever delivered."

trogdor said...

In the thread Phil links to, two comments after he takes Luther to task is a comment by none other than Phil Perkins. Which marks the first time anyone's been able to find him without googling Frank Turk. So that's something.

I've read a few of Calvin's commentaries, and I do remember even him falling into this trap a bit. There were a few passages he stretched a bit to make them about the pope, when they didn't seem to have anything to do with any catholic issues per se. Fortunately they were rare, but when I came across them it was a jolting reminder of just how powerfully our personal situations can effect how we handle scripture. If even Calvin could be influenced by his context, a chump like me better be even more aware to not go beyond the text.

stratagem said...

Squirrel

Well I don't know, I betcha that Bourne Identity movie could do a lot to teach the flock about the things they need to learn in church, such as how to feel better about themselves, have relationships that are more fulfilling, etc. Did you have something else in mind for preachin'? /tongue in cheek

aircanada1513 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Solameanie said...

AirCanada,

So we subject biblical truth to demographics?

dan said...

i'm hit hard. i'm weighing a possible call to ministry in my life right now and have to think long and hard about why i would take the mantle. if i do it coz i think i can make it something cool, then i'm wrong. if i do it coz i think i'll gain respect and human praise, then i'm wrong. if i do it because i think i have some sort of power to establish a major church, then i'm wrong.

i must pursue ministry becsuse it's all about Christ Jesus. His love, His ways, His plan of redemption. His TRUTH. it's all about exalting Him.

all other reasons are superfluous.

donsands said...

Superb post. Thanks.

I like sermons. I like pulpits. I watched a DVD of Alistair Begg this past Sunday with my wife, since we didn't make it to church. He was a preacher of Christ as well. It was a excellent sermon. And he spoke to his congragtion with authority, yet with humility. Pastor Begg is another good example I thought.

But, Spurgeon will always be the prince of preachers. What I wouldn't give to hear that man preach, or JC Ryle perhaps.

Mark Driscoll doesn't preach really. He isn't gifted to. He's a good talker. And his gifts of communicating are evident, and the Lord is with him, as far as I can see.

Some sow and some water, but it's the Lord who gives the increase. But the sowers and waterers are sovereignly given gifts from the Spirit to the Church.

Rachael Starke said...

aircanada,

Well, if you attended Grace as long as you did, then surely you know that the campus is located minutes from the heart of one of the biggest centers of pornogrpahy production in the world.

You're other (apropros of nothing to do with Dan's point in this post) concerns aside, how are people like John and Phil not hitting this "demographic" squarely between the eyes, vs. letting the demographic enable the pillaging of Scripture? (I'd use the word John used, but that would be too negative.)

Supposed Mark hadn't "grown" from being known as the Cussing Pastor to the Pastor That Makes Crude Jokes on T.V. and Crude, Ignoble Comments About His Wife, and this is the only sermon we'd heard.

Juxtaposed against either all the other men who were there, or the men from history Dan references, how is this not a very valid point to make?

ZSB said...

I start every morning with two or three blogs (there are such good, rich blogs out there, I don't know why anyone bothers with little devotional books anymore like Our Daily Crouton.

Pyro is one of them and I'd say 85% of the time, it's so uplifting, challenging, and Christ-centered that it helps set the tone for my whole day. But this kind of post does nothing but confuse me... When did a fellow Calvinist preacher become the bad guy? Did I miss a meeting??

Anyway, gotta go prepare a sermon for Sunday. A lot of people would probably hate it if they heard it and John Calvin might even make a sarcastic comment if he were on the platform with me, but I shall do my best and trust the Holy Spirit to take up the slack where I lack...

Chris said...

Well said Dan! The hypothetical gathering would be proud of this post because it exhorts everyone to lift up Christ and the Truth of His Word, not merely to "get along" (for the sake of getting along). Righteousness must always preclude peace if peace is indeed going to be true peace--Biblical peace--when all personhood decreases and He, the Lord, increases.

Poetress said...

Perhaps I'm in the wrong demographic. I'm from the UK, and I'm black, but I'm middle class. I realise that the USA is much more divided along lines of ethnicity/ race (whatever we call it these days) and class. I understand some of this talk, but I find it unhelpful to be categorised by my race/ class.

Let's preach Christ, black, white, red, yellow (any other combinations). I would not care if my minister originated from Iran, or Spain, or Nigeria, so long as he preached the true gospel and sought to be a true gospel minister.

I came out of a church where we had our own local celebrity preachers, who had sooooooooo much authority and power, that they mistreated the flock. This was a predominantly white, working class church. I now attend a predominantly white, middle class church, with a good smattering of working class folks!

I shy away from people like Driscoll, because I feel that his strident exhortations may turn into abuse of the flock who hang on his every word. I have friends in the Uk who are very much enamoured with his teaching and his style. I am concerned only because these are youngish people, who have a tendency to find some figures of authority very challenging (having come from a very strict, and quite joyless Reformed tradition). I worry that they buy wholesale into Driscoll, right or wrong.

Stuart B said...

Could we maybe have a "What We DO Like and Appreciate About Mark Driscoll" post? Some good mixed in with all this bad? Has MD ever preached the gospel, perhaps? That'd be a good.

DJP? Anyone?

Jack said...

Don't you all agree that profanity, lewd joking, and crude language about sex are all inappropriate for a Christian, which includes preachers? And wouldn't you all agree that any preacher bending a message in on himself, so that he becomes his own sermonic context, is also something that preachers shouldn't do? And let's throw in sarcasm.

If you can all agree, then this isn't mainly about Driscoll. It includes Driscoll, but it would also include Martin Luther at times (e.g., his comment to Melancthon about what they should both be doing with their respective wives when Christ returns was nasty).

Driscoll illustrates some of this. But if he's the only one you ever use to illustrate these sins, then you are witch-hunting Driscoll.

And yes, Dan, you do change the way you preach to fit the characteristics of a particular audience, insofar as they might get in the way of being clearly understood. Demographics never justifies profanity, lewd jokes, or worldly sexual language. But purity doesn't mean, "I make a conspicuous point of ignoring the social and psychological characteristics of the people to whom I'm speaking".

Jack Brooks
Georgetown Evangelical Free Church

Stefan said...

Poetress:

Amen.

As a Anglo-Scottish Jew who learned the Bible from Malaysian Chinese believers, came to Christ at the preaching of a son of Russian Germans, was baptized by a Korean pastor, and fellowships in a multi-class, multi-ethnic community of believers, I agree:

Preach Christ and Him crucified!

Hayden said...

aircanada,

Are you making accusations against the church that you attend right now in a public forum? Have you spoken with the elders of the church? Have you voiced your concerns to them?

I attended GCC for 4 years and taught at Grace Community School for 3 years. If you want diversity, go to the school on the campus. Have you ever been to the campus sponsored by Bobby Scott and others in LA? (all TMS graduates) Have you ever attended the Crossroads Bible studies at UCLA or USC? What about the over 20 different language Bible studies held on the campus throughout the week? What about teh huge Spanish ministry of the church?

Tell me, is GCC just a white anglo-saxon church? Open your eyes.

DJP said...

Jack — re. your last paragraph, to me.

Do you think I'd think otherwise?

Nathan said...

AirCanada,

You cannot possibly imagine how tired I am of people telling us that Driscoll's methods are because of his demographics. I've heard Driscoll himself say at the beginning of some of his videos, "to be fair, we are in one of the least churched cities in America." I'm so incredibly sick of hearing how demographic studies give us permission to speak in whatever manner we like and say things completely out of place in the pulpit.

If you really attended GCC for any amount of time you cannot possibly think that all of the church is surburban...did you ever visit high school ministry? I serve in high school ministry and to suggest that GCC is not diverse and is a bunch of middle class white people is at least completely laughable and at most, a bold faced lie.

If we are going to go the demographics route, then let's think about it for a minute. GCC is located a few minutes from Van Nuys, which is the porn capital of the world. It's 10 minutes from Hollywood. Seattle is about 9% churched, what do you think LA is? Try 6%. So...if demographics justify ungodly methodology, then GCC should have given in a long time ago.

Please...stop using the "Driscoll has a different audience so he has to use different methods" line...and please don't knock my church for not reaching out to minorities when that is completely untrue.

Frank Turk said...

SCN --

I have read your comments, and they are interesting to me.

I wonder: why did MD respond to Phil's talk and Dr. MacArthur's essay (be serious now -- because it's obvious what he's talking about by his examples) if "nobody is listening"?

Your insights on that would be enlightening. For the record, our readership is stable, and my sleep is sound.

Frank Turk said...

To Pastor Jack --

Your assertion is that sarcasm, like lewd jesting, has no place in preaching -- that is, they have the same moral value, and therefore they are equally forbidden.

I'm thinking about this, and considering it seriously, and I think I can find pastoral sarcasm in almost all of Paul's letters but I am completely certain that I can find no form of crude or lewd jesting in any of Paul's letters except maybe the classic Galatian's challenge issued by Paul to those who advocate circumcision -- and in that case, I would call that sarcasm where the exception proves the rule.

If I can find sarcasm in Paul's letters, how would that change your response here? That is: if you can demonstrate that you would be willing to be proven wrong and change your mind, I'll be willing to do the footwork to show you how you have mistaken this mode of discourse.

Let me know.

Chris said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Frank Turk said...

Nathan --

e-mail me. You have poked me about something I am interested in thinking about off-line.

stratagem said...

I realise that the USA is much more divided along lines of ethnicity/ race (whatever we call it these days) and class. I understand some of this talk, but I find it unhelpful to be categorised by my race/ class. Poetress: Since you're from the UK, I'll clue you in that here in the USA, unless one laments or flogs themselves for just happening to be born white, you run the risk of being labeled a racist. It shouldn't be that way, because the best way to stop racism is to stop denigrating any race (just as you've said), but that's not the way it is here. I know that's a very weird cultural phenomenon, but it's true and its a very long and sad story how we ever got to that point.
Regards

SCN said...

I challenge every single one of you critics to actually listen to the sermon that Driscoll preached and tell me with a straight face that Dan's characterization of the sermon was even remotely honest. Go ahead, I dare you.

DJP said...

BEFORE ANYONE TAKES SCN'S CHALLENGE

SCN, please count up how many have already done so, between the two posts, and provide the number.

Then explain what you will do with that information.

You know, I don't want my readers wasting their time on a non-serious, lazy drive-by.

(Not saying that's you; you get to show us.)

stratagem said...

And I triple-dog dare you!!

SCN said...

Frank said: "I wonder: why did MD respond to Phil's talk and Dr. MacArthur's essay (be serious now -- because it's obvious what he's talking about by his examples) if "nobody is listening"?

Your insights on that would be enlightening. For the record, our readership is stable, and my sleep is sound."

Can you show me where Mark ever responded to Phil or MacArthur? WE were told by Phil that Mark had put together a video response of some kind when Phil initially contacted him. We were even told that Phil would post that response. Was it ever posted?

And for the record, Mark's ministry is thriving like it never has before. The Acts 29 network is expanding like crazy. I doubt Mark gets as much sleep as you do. He's too busy training men and reaching the lost.

aircanada1513 said...
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trogdor said...

So he's busy doing more important things.... like ministry?

By the way, I'd be real careful about throwing out the "his ministry is large so God must be blessing it" nonsense, unless you're willing to admit that Joel Osteen is the godliest pastor ever.

Pete said...

"unless one laments or flogs themselves for just happening to be born white, you run the risk of being labeled a racist."

I hear about similar sentiments in Germany. Some Germans lament that they happen to be born to extremely nationalistic parents and grandparents. As crazy as it sounds, some Germans actually feel apologetic--they feel bad about what their ancestors and their co-nationals did.

Poetress said...

Not everyone needs to be a chocolate covered, or brown covered middle-class citizen.

AirCanada, I find this comment mildly offensive and hypocritical for someone who is "calling out" monoculturalism and implying racism in a particular church!

DJP said...

At least here in America, Poetress, as a rule, the biggest anti-racism mouths tend to be very race-focused.

To all keeping score at home: do you notice which commenters are not actually engaging the contents of the post? Even though the post anticipated their comments, thus far?

doxa said...
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Hayden said...

aircanada,

Do you actually walk around the campus during the week? Have you met very many of the secretaries? What about the folks at Grace Community School?

You say that TMS and TMC are diversified, then what is Dr Felix upset about? What does Dr MAyhue have to do with what goes on at the church? Is he on the staff of GCC?

When I taught at GCS, I taught kids from many different ethnicities. You have been there for 8 years? In what capacity?

The charges that you are leveling are very serious.

PS You would lend yourself some credibility if you didn't hide behind a keyboard and make a profile for who you are.

aircanada1513 said...
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DJP said...

You know what? This is absolutely ridiculous.

This post has NOTHING to do with race or GCC. I've been there twice in my life, I think. I don't think Frank's ever even been there. Phil goes. If he wants to comment, fine.

I must say, that is one of the lamest rabbit-trails our meta's have even been hijacked onto.

Comment on the post, or don't comment. Period.

DJP said...

Before NLB corrects me, yes, I know: it's "metas." Thank you.

(c:

Chris said...
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Chris said...

Sorry Dan, for running down that rabbit trail, and for violating rule #6! I go to GCC, so felt the need to defend. Again, so sorry.

Jerry Wragg said...
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Lisa Nunley said...

I have listened to the sermon. I agree with Pyro... not because I blindly follow these men. I follow Christ... alone.
I have listened to several of Driskoll's sermons. I actually like many of his messages. When I first heard him, I came out swinging against him because the sermon that introduced him to me was ... well, I would not have wanted my kids in church with me while he was preaching that sermon and we always have our kids with us in church. I would have had to explain to them why a preacher was talking like that and laughing about things that are not funny.
But, I was reprimanded for basing my opinion of him on one sermon. So, to give him a fair take, I listened to many of his sermons. I found myself really drawn to him. His honesty, though over the top at times, was very engaging. He seems so truly broken before the cross and this brokenness is reflected in many of his sermons.
But, I have also found that he gets very careless and transparent at the expense of the Gospel.
I have shared several of his sermons with my older 2 boys, but found I have to screen them because of content that is not necessary.
I didn't grow up in a refined, protected Christian environment. I was a kid, teen, young adult that followed a path of extreme wickedness. I know what wicked is. I'm one of those vile sinners saved by grace alone that cannot comprehend why God has been so immensely merciful to me.
All that to say... why? Why Driskoll? Why do I have to screen your sermons? I REALLY like your style. It seems so obvious that you deeply love the Lord. But, I don't get it. This is not about cultural relevancy. It is not about you or me or what anyone has gone through or been hurt by or skin color or location or status... It's about Christ. All about Christ. And when I walk away from a sermon I want to be convicted and encouraged about the truth of Christ. I don't want to ask 'was that supposed to be about the Gospel, because all I can remember is Driskoll saying something unnecessary. I think you know that... or should know better. I sincerely do not understand.This reminds me of really excellent movies that our family has watched, but had to resort to using our bleeping DVD player that takes all the sex scenes and cuss words out. We watch the movie... not feeling like we missed out on ANYTHING. It didn't compromise the movie at all to use that filter... and we couldn't understand why Hollywood felt like they had to put all that filth in there... except to be 'relevant' ???

Hayden said...

Sorry Dan! I really did like your article and wanted to defend GCC from the salacious attacks. I attended there and was really taught much from the pulpit and through discipleship. When I hear someone talking 'smack' about GCC it is like they are talking about family.

One of the things that I noticed when I went there was that they did not cater to any demographic. They preached the Word and discipled the believers of all backgrounds. And believe me, there were many backgrounds represented!

The main point is that we must not use demographics to alter the message which is what Driscoll does. He uses it as a guise to say what he wants. He is ministering to the 'cool' Seattle crowd so he must talk about UFC and the latest band otherwise they are gonna leave. (I have a friend that attends Mars Hill and he confirmed that on his campus it is basically the monolithic 'cool' crowd)

PS I noticed that aircanada never spoke to any of my assertions, why because I do not believe that this person really ever looked around!

DJP said...

I will delete posts about GCC except by Phil - pro or con. Or I'll shut down the meta.

No more attack or defense. We're OFF that topic, and ON the post.

Got it, everyone?

The Squirrel said...

The picture of the can of worms was just weird. Prescient, but weird.

(o:

~Squirrel

Stuart B said...

Anything good at all about Driscoll? I've only been listening to him since November or so.

DJP said...

Stuart, how about if you listen to the talk we're discussing, and let us know what you think?

Because that's what we're talking about.

Fred Butler said...
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stratagem said...

I feel so foolish, like I was Hank Kimball the County Agent, after that stern rebuke by Dan about the rabbit trail.

Well, it wasn't exactly a stern rebuke...

DJP said...

All right, that's it. Thread closed. I can't seem to get us back on the post.

Glad some of you profited.

Phil can reopen if he wants.

humanitasremedium said...

Great post! spot on. thanks for the love shown here.

Frank Turk said...

I wonder, SCN, if the reference by MD in his Gospel Coalition talk regarding the propriety of using the word "rape" (as well as the word "heresy") was in reference to the ephemeral whispers of some unknown, unnamed person, or to the series posted the previous week by Dr. MacArthur?

Remember: I said "be serious" -- not "be ridiculous". I am sure you can offer a hypothesis in which it cannot possibly be Dr. MacArthur he is refering to, but your theory has to account for the real world. If you do a google search of the terms "rape" and "Mark Driscoll", yoyu're not going to find very many where both are present which are critical of the man himself. You may only find one.

So please: be serious.

Phil Johnson said...

I reopened this briefly to erase some comments that were egregious rule-5 violations. I also deleted some comments that answered those deleted comments after Dan declared the matter off-topic.

Now I'm closing the thread again. I think everything that NEEDS to be said about it has been said. If you think not, e-mail me privately, and if you have some mind-blowingly original insight, I'll add it for anyone who has managed to wade through these comments to this point.

Thanks for the comments.