Honestly, it seems as if one of Mark Driscoll's favorite things is painting himself as a brave, noble, but beleaguered victim of mean old bullies. I that same theme here and there.
Well, Driscoll's at it again. Or should I say he never stopped? Frankly, I don't read him enough to know. But he's striking the pose of the weathered, grizzled, seasoned old veteran of countless conflicts, putting down his tankard for a moment to spare some advice with a green, fresh-faced young'un.
"Sorry, man. I get it," Driscoll rasps; you can almost see him fingering the long virtual scars criss-crossing his neck.
The title is "What To Do With Internutters." It's a pinch north of 630 words, but I can summarize it in two: ignore them. Don't listen to a word. Don't respond, don't make eye-contact. Hire a lawyer to write mean, threatening lawyer-letters, or get a court-order, if you want. (Seriously; Driscoll says that a couple of times.)
Now, I think my main problem with the article is that Driscoll is not very specific about who he's calling "internutters." About as close as he gets to a description is that his young protégé was subjected to "someone who had become quite a vocal critic all over the Internet and in relationships with church members, making wildly unfounded accusations and creating a lot of additional work."
We'll all agree that "wildly unfounded accusations" are bad things. No one should make them. We here at Pyro totally believe that. And I'll say (no snark) that I don't have Driscoll's experience dealing with... well, actually I have dealt with a number of nutters. But I'm sure not as many as he, nor as publicly. I'm an immensely smaller fish.
However, I'm not sure it's wise not to answer even "nutters" at least once, if you can. Of course, some accusations are pretty tough to answer. As I mention in a very different connection over at my place, it's awfully hard to prove a negative, for instance. "You constantly beat your wife in a way that leaves neither bruises nor witnesses" would be a difficult charge to refute. Or a post hoc charge with a deft propter hoc (e.g. "Pastor X counseled Y, who then did Z — because of the pastor's counsel!").
Phil Johnson, on the other hand, has dealt with many, many gen-u-ine nutters over the years. I'd be interested to hear his thoughts on that subject.
But let's say the "nutters" are saying truthful, Scriptural, sober things, well-founded in both reality and evidence.Well then, they're not actually "nutters," are they? For instance, I hear and read "bloggers" used in the same tone as "nutters," as if they're interchangeables. They're not. Ironically, most of the people who speak dismissively of "bloggers" and dismiss the whole lot of them tend to be ones who have received valid reproof they haven't liked.
Further complicating my exegesis of Driscoll is the fact that I have seen him speak exactly as dismissively of men who tried hard to bring sound, sober, fact-based/Scripture-based concerns to his attention.
So those who offer such criticism and rebuke cannot so easily be brushed off as "nutters." I mean, say — just to pluck an example out of the ether — you are a well-known pastor who has a pronounced tendency to say disgraceful things from pulpits over and over and over again, over a period of years. And say serious believers try again and again to call you to repent and forsake such abuse of the pulpit.
See now, that's a different situation, isn't it? To call such folks "nutters," dismiss their reproof as "wildly unfounded," declare that you won't dignify them with a response, and try to strike a noble pose... well, that wouldn't be very adorning to the Gospel, I would think. You know, I've heard what is allegedly an Irish proverb to this effect: "When everyone says you're drunk, sit down."
It's not always simple, though, and I don't mean imply that it is. The majority can be dead-wrong. Solid-gold Christian leaders, whose ESV Study Bibles you're genuinely not worthy to ferry about, can make mistakes. There's still constant need to judicious discernment, to focus on facts and Scripture.
But to Driscoll's opinions, I'd offer these cautionary Scriptural counterpoints:
- Never forget: if it's a sin, you're capable of it (Romans 7:13-23).
- If you have sinned, you do not want to be the last to know it (Proverbs 29:1).
- Denial is not a remedy for sin or folly (Proverbs 28:13). In fact...
- Denial is the way to destruction (Proverbs 29:1).
- Hating critics is the mark of a fool (Proverbs 9:8a; 17:12).
- It is the characteristic of the wise man to welcome and heed wise, godly correction (Psalm 141:5; Proverbs 9:9b-10).
- The way to mercy lies through self-humbling, accepting rebuke, repenting and forsaking (Proverbs 10:17; 11:2; 12:1; 14:33; 18:12; 28:13).