26 October 2006

How Men Love

by Frank Turk

I couldn't think of a more provocative title for this post, and I'm sure that I am stretching some of you by bringing it up at all—but today at TeamPyro you will learn a lot of things about the Christian life.

It's somewhat ironic, I think, that in the last week the soft and sensitive underbelly of the Christian blogosphere called us Pyros (and Phil in particular) "bullies." However, I think it also turns out that today is going to be a classic clinic in how men who love each other in Christ can disagree and still not violate that love.

And it's going to occur on so many levels—the most obvious being that I disagree with Phil about whether or not Mark Driscoll is an "emergent".

But then there's the level of how to disagree with Driscoll and not take him out to the bone yard with the boys and have a blanket party—because while I disagree with Phil's assessment Mark Driscoll is just another end of the spectrum which contains Rob Bell, I also do not think we should give the Pastor of Mars Hill in Seattle, WA, a pass on his indulgent view of the culture of the grungy Pacific Northwest and how it may intrude on the ministry of God's word.

OK—let's agree that what Mark Driscoll does 3 times on Sunday is not secular stand-up comedy, nor should it ever be such a thing. You know: TeamPyro stands for the idea that God's word is like fire, and that it is a sharp sword that separates the parts of a man down to the soul and spirit. That means handling God's word requires some kind of care.

There's an interesting moment in the DGM 2006 National Conference audio. Driscoll set up the analogy in his hour that ministry has two hands—one which is doctrine, and the other which is context. In that, he said that as long as we have everything in the doctrine hand correctly, we have a lot of liberty to manage what's in the context hand. The interesting part was when, later in the Conference, John Piper made the statement that it didn't matter to him what was in the "context" hand as long as the "doctrine" hand was sound—and he made that statement acknowledging that some of "us" (the "TRs", the people who really care whether or not people are going to go to hell if the Gospel doesn't reach them—including those who hear a false Gospel which they mistake for the true Gospel) think that there is a place where the "context" hand corrupts the "doctrine" hand.

Listen: I am one of those people. I have used this example elsewhere, but let's be serious for a moment. Let's imagine that some man has a past in which he was involved with the porn industry in that he was involved with women who are strippers and prostitutes—he was friends with them, had relationships with them, and so on. Then, let's imagine that he has this thing happen to him in which he says that he recognizes that he's a sinner, and God is offended, but that Jesus Christ is his only salvation—that Christ died for his sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that Christ was buried and was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures. Amen.

In that confession, any Baptist church would baptize this man, yes? So he's saved, right? What do we make of it if, after making this confession, this man seems to find the liberty to stay inside that lifestyle while making only minor changes—for example, he abandons the drinking and the drugs and most of his former promiscuity, but he keeps his live-in girlfriend and he still goes to strip shows. What do we make of that even if he says, "Dude—this is the only way to reach these women for the Gospel?"

Those of you who are right-minded, of course, have just muttered a forceful expression of disgust consistent with the principle of Ephesians 4:29.

There's no question: the ruse that I can go ahead and, for example, attend strip club performances "for the ministry" is completely transparent. You can't go to a strip club under the auspices of 1 Cor 9 because, frankly, "all" does not mean "all" there, does it?

So how do we go ahead and apply that to Mark Driscoll? That is: he says 1 Cor 9 is a call to radical missionary zeal, and that we should become skate punks and Vidiots to the skate punks and the Vidiots. Is that a valid interpretation—since the Bible never tells us, for example, that skate punks are reprobate and should be treated as people who cannot receive the Gospel?

For those who haven't taken advantage of the ESV pop-up to read 1 Cor 9, here's the passage in context:

    For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.
When you read that, I think it's easy to hear Paul say, "I went to every culture I could find, and I became part of that culture, so that the Gospel could be served to them." And I think that's right—there's no question we are called to every tribe, tongue and nation to preach the Gospel.

But what if we are called to a nation which, for example, accepts culturally the matter of prostitution? You know—like in Ephesus where women who wore their hair up and with jewelry in it were recognized as prostitutes? How do we react to that? More particularly for our case here, how did Paul—who says he became all things to all men so that some might be saved—react to that?

It seems to me that he went to the culture but rejected all parts of the culture which manifested a rejection of the Gospel. For example, he knew how prostitutes dressed—and he forbade women from dressing like prostitutes. So on the one hand, he wasn't ignorant of the culture—and on the other, he wasn't going to get fooled into being just like the culture. He wasn't going to put silver fish jewelry on all the prostitutes and claim he just added 500 to the body of Christ.

The radical missionary zeal evident in 1 Cor 9 is not a fashion statement. Paul is not saying at all that when in Rome, he attended orgies—though, of course, he only partook in the gluttony and not the sex. And what is most evident in 1 Cor 9, it seems to me, is by what standard he lived for the sake of other men.

That standard is evident in the sentence I underlined—he became "weak" to the "weak". Now: what does that mean? Does it mean that he always acted inside a "mere" version and vision of the Gospel—or does it mean something else? Let me ask those questions this way: who is the weak in 1 Cor 8?

For example, are unbelievers ever called "weak" by Paul? Why no: they are not. They are called sinners, and reprobates, and liars and murderers and adulterers. And particularly in 1 Cor 8, are the "weak" unbelievers, or people who have some relationship to the body of Christ but have a conscience which is "weak"?

The answer seems obvious, doesn't it? Paul is not saying, "to those who were immoral, I became a libertine of sorts to fool them into the Gospel which requires a death to self," but in fact he is saying, "to those who have a weak conscience and do not have liberty in (for example) dietary laws I became weak like them, extra sensitive to their conscientious observance." And in that, isn't there an irony that this passage is used to extol apparent moral laxity when Paul was using it to say that he served by being more sensitive to their moral standards?

The other way to read this—which is, I think, how Driscoll wants us to read this—is that Paul is saying to the Corinthians, "dude: you can't look down on me for being a guy who is rough around the edges. I'm a friend of sinners, just like Jesus, and if you can't handle that you're not really into missions." There's no careful way to read this passage that way. 1 Cor 9 is, from start to finish, Paul taking the finger some are pointing at him (cf. 1 Cor 9:8-18 ) and pointing right back by demonstrating he has never taken anything from anyone—even that which is his by right in the ministry by the Law of Moses. If Paul's point through v. 20 is, "I have joyfully suffered for your sake in the Gospel," how can it be that suddenly he is saying, "and I have enjoyed all kinds of privileges and exotic customs for the sake of the Gospel"?

It can't be. So when we are talking "missiology" here, Paul isn't looking for an excuse to behave like a gentile: we are talking about the nature of the missionary as an ambassador for Christ who made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.

Wow! Isn't that something—Paul is actually talking about being Christ-like when dealing with other people. Christ-like! And being Christ-like, it turns out, means that we love God enough to refrain from our own weaknesses. We don't let people accidentally think that potty humor has a place along side the Gospel.

And Christ—he didn't have to use potty language or dirty jokes or scatology to preach the Kingdom.

Our high-minded reformed doctrines may, sometimes, make us think of Jesus as some kind of soteriological Terminator—you can't stop him, he doesn't really have anything to do with the world except his mission through it, and his catch-phrase is "I'll be Back." And there are real weaknesses in that—because, as Driscoll has pointed out, Jesus really did live, really did get tempted, really did suffer in every way as a man, really did die on a cross. But in knowing that Christ was a man, was made flesh and dwelt among us, we cannot trade in our reverence for him as King of Kings—who, in his own words (Luke 19:27), is going to have his enemies brought before him and slaughtered for failing to recognize Him as their rightful king.

If we are going to make the call on Mark Driscoll—"we" being all of us in Christ, and "the call" being a call to real repentance and reconciliation—we need to make sure it's not because we think (or want him to think) that we want him to stop being "Emergent" "right now": speaking for myself, a man with unclean lips among a people with unclean lips, who is undone by the vision of God in his glory to whom the angels sing, "Holy! Holy! Holy! Is the Lord God Almighty!", I just want Mark Driscoll to speak of Jesus and his word in a way which reflects the stated belief that Jesus is worthy of all honor and glory and praise.

It's not "emergent" to use potty language: it's indiscriminate. It's immature. And it doesn't in any way reflect the missional servanthood of 1 Cor 9 to be all things in service to men who are weak and dying. If we, as men, are going to love them, we can't love them by being more like them. We have to love them by being more like Christ.

You want to dip yourself in Pop culture DVDs, CDs, TVs and podcasts to know what "the kids are thinking these days"? Remember that those things are not the Gospel, nor are they vehicles for the Gospel: they are the symptom of our need for the Gospel.

And with that, I leave the Meta open for your weeping and gnashing of teeth.

IMPORTANT END NOTE: For those of you who are concerned right now that this post was edited after it was originally put up, you should lay your concerns to rest. One of the things which is critical to understand about me personally is that I am not above valid criticism. In that, my friends helped me review this post at my request because I knew it was controversial at a level which was frankly higher than my usual altitude for creating a dust cloud. I posted the old draft to the blog after making a series of correction I thought resolved all the concerns, but I was mistaken. I was pleased to make further corrections and revisions for the sake of removing the concerning statements.

If, in your book, that's conspiratorial or crooked, or that somehow it is dishonest to call that "mistakenly hitting post" when, in fact, it was a mistake to hit post because I had not done what I intended to do, I apologize to you for giving the appearance of wrong-doing.

Thanks for your concern about my moral well-being.


Even So... said...

Remember that those things are not the Gospel, nor are they vehicles for the Gospel: they are the symptom of our need for the Gospel.

Nailed it...game over...

donsands said...

"we can not trade in our reverence for Him as our King of kings"

This was a well thought out post. And an excellent one to read over.

Revering the Lord has deep roots in the heart of the child of God.

"O LORD, I have heard Your speech and was afraid." Hab. 3:2

"But on this one will I look:
On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit,
And who trembles at My Word." Isah. 66:2b

art said...

"potty language or dirty jokes or scatology"

Do you not realize how it is your context that determines how you define those terms?

What might constitute 'potty language' to you does not make it 'potty language' to someone within a different social context, particularly one as liberal as Seattle.

And your analogy of prostitution is a good example...and I'm positive that both Driscoll and Piper would agree with you...because that is not what they are doing. They are contextualizing (which everyone does, whether they admit/recognize it or not) theology, not relativizing morality.

Phil Johnson said...

Frank: " I disagree with Phil's assessment Mark Driscoll is just another end of the spectrum which contains Rob Bell"

Back in April, our British link-troll friend asked Driscoll himself where he stands with regard to "the emergent movement as a whole." In his reply, Driscoll described the ECM as a spectrum with four main teams: Relevants; Reformed Relevants; Reconstructionists; and Revisionists.

Then Driscoll said, "I have no problem with the evangelical Relevants (e.g. Dan Kimball, Chris Seay, Rob Bell, Erwin McManus). I have respect for, but some concerns with, the house church Reconstructionists. I consider myself a Reformed Relevant"--clearly placing himself comfortably within the "emerging" spectrum as he saw it.

He was wonderfully critical even then of the "Revisionist Emergent tribe." I'm glad about that, but he nonetheless described the larger movement in a way that accommodated his own position.

So I have simply agreed with Driscoll's own assessment of how the landscape falls out. Your view strikes me as wishful thinking.

Craig Schwarze said...

I'm still waiting on someone to provide me with examples of what they think is unacceptable in Driscoll's sermons. What specific cuss words has he used?

There was a discussion about this on wiki at some point. They finally removed the reference to him as the "cussing" pastor because no-one could find any examples of him actually cussing in the pulpit.

If you've got some examples, please email them to me.

Regarding other points Frank raised -

Living with your girlfriend is prohibited in the bible - it's fornication. Dressing like a skater is not prohibited in the bible - these are two entirely different categories.

So when we start to talk about what is "worthy" of the pulpit, we are entering a very subjective realm. 50 years ago, a man who didn't wear a tie in the pulpit was brining disgrace on it. 50 years before that, he had to be wearing a robe.

One could argue that Phil's alternative covers of the bible are sacriligious. I'm sure some people have. Personally, I think they are hilarious. Again, there is a subjectivity to this.

As I commented below, the charges of being vulgar, theatrical and popular ("cool") were the same charges that were levelled at Spurgeon.

I think TeamPyro are off target with this one...

Phil Johnson said...

CraigS: I tried delicately to describe what I found offensive in Driscoll's sermon without saying anything offensive myself. BTW, I did not accuse him of using "cuss words" in that sermon. I complained that he used expressions that are inappropriate in polite company, and he dealt with topics in a lowbrow fashion, evidently for shock value and smut value. (Hence his snide comment about giving the bloggers something to do.) Here's the gist of a few things that offended me (by no means an exhaustive list), as politely as I can put it:

1. His reference to his daughter's comment about male anatomy was inappropriate and irreverent. I have no doubt that Driscoll's own conscience tells him this, and here's the test (I'm groping for a way to say this politely): If it were someone else speaking publicly in such a lightehearted fashion, with the laugh-track running and the sophomoric giggles at high volume--and especially if the subjects of discussion were Driscoll's own wife and daughter, rather than the holy Son of God--Driscoll would be rightly offended over any euphemistic comments about private aspects of their anatomy, and he might even be inclined to use some of those ultimate fighter moves on whoever the offending speaker was.

2. His casual use of a word in mixed company that
even the bartender at the BHT felt compelled to censor.

3. His speculation about Jesus engaging in flatulence contests with the disciples was appallingly irreverent and demonstrably wrong (see John 5:19, 30; 9:4-5). I'm tempted to say "blasphemous," because, frankly, I think an argument could be made for that, but I'm toning down my complaint as much as I reasonably can.

4. The many toilet jokes throughout, especially those where Jesus was the subject. (I referred to one particularly offensive example of this above.) As I also said elsewhere above, "I agree that Jesus was fully human, saddled with all our normal non-sinful infirmities, including the ones we don't talk about (or giggle about) in settings where we need to be polite." To raise that subject amidst the irreverent laughter of a large audience is inappropriate--just as inappropriate as you would most likely think it would be for the preacher to start joking about your bowel movements in church.

Craig Schwarze said...

At the same time, I'm very reluctant to be on the same side of anyone defending Emerging Church types.

We have them in Oz too, and I have no sympathy for people who say "Flying a kite on Sunday morning is a valid expression of church" and other nuttiness.

So I think I'll bow out of the debate to avoid any taint by association...


Dwayne Forehand said...

You don't think you've made a valid point here do you? Driscoll would never put fornication in the open hand as Scripture is abundantly clear on it. How silly of you to say he would. Either that was a cheap shot to try and win an argument or you really just simply don't understand what he means by a closed hand and an open hand. Some deeper research would prevent you from making such mistakes in the future.

jen said...

If we, as men, are going to love them, we can't love them by being more like them. We have to love them by being more like Christ.

As Paul said:
Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ. 1 Corinthians 11:1

Kay said...

This isn't about reality, it's about respect.

If someone was talking about your mother, making jokes about her going to the toilet, I would hope that you would find that grossly inappropriate to say the least.

How much more should you find it inappropriate about the Lord of Lords. It's perfectly possible to underline his humanity without reference to something that most people with a shred of decency understand is something private.

Garry Weaver said...

Shucks! I wanted to be the first one to say "You nailed it!" This is a very helpful and needed post.

Dwayne Forehand said...

Frank said, "But what if we are called to a nation which, for example, accepts culturally the matter of prostitution?"

Us in Seattle have been called to quite a similar culture. Seattle is a place which not only accepts homosexuality, but promotes it. They also accept fornication and drunkenness as normal. These are, believe it or not, in our "closed hand" and something that a lot of teaching time has been dedicated too.

FX Turk said...


Scatological jokes, as language, are in the same class of things as prostituion is as a behavior. If you need the exegesis to work that out, I can help you with it.


I am still the only Pyro who says that I like Mark Driscoll. I like him. I like him because I think he's a lot like me, or I'm a lot like him. I think that, all in all, he wants to serve God with an open throat and a loud voice and no apologies for loving Jesus for being far bigger than my/our sinfulness.

But that zeal is not an excuse to do whatever. I admire Pastor Driscoll's stand against homosexuality and promiscuity, and I particularly like his stand on the family and on role in marriage. I like him.

I cannot fathom why he wants to make a joke at the pulpit for which my wife would send my son to his room for the night if he made it at the dinner table. That's not relevence: that's pandering. I recognize it because I am also attracted by it. It's great to get a response from the audience, but we have to remember that we are stewards and messengers and not spinners of riffs at the Improv.

Please: hear me correctly that I earnestly want Mark Driscoll to serve God in God's church for the sake of the Gospel. These jokes -- they don't do that.

Lance Roberts said...

This post should definitely be shown in the sidebar for future access. I was perfectly to the point.

"Potty language" is potty language no matter what the culture. Unfortunately, its got to the point where that's one of the main sources of humor in children's shows/movies, so more people all the time are getting to think that it is normal.

FX Turk said...


I can be wrong. I never read that interview -- it must have escaped my ever-vigilant watchblogging. I think I was in the middle of the debate with that atheist movie guy at the time and I never got to see Adrian's useful interview.

So there you go -- Driscoll says he's inside the Emergent spectrum, and I was wrong.

Pheh. Baptists.

Jennifer said...

This was fantastic!! And funny...that passage has just been on my brain just these last couple days! Perfect timing.

Thank you.

isaiah543 said...

I liked your post, Frank. Great work in 1 Cor 8-9. Lots to think about.

But I still think this issue is going to come down to the exegesis of Eph 5:4 and Col 3:8. Phil's view may be the majority view among readers of this blog, but it's certainly not a settled matter in the commentaries.

Here's my effort to handle those verses from a blog post of two months ago...

Philippians 3:8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung

The BAGD Greek English lexicon gives this rendering of that last phrase: "It's all crap."

What, you ask, about Colossians 3:8? "But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth." The word for obscene talk is literally "shameful words". Now, I ask you, what makes a word shameful? Is it not that it expresses anger, wrath, malice, or slander? Look at how the NASB translates this verse, "But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth." Must a word be obscene to be abusive? Are all obscene words abusive? Is Paul's use of "crap" in Philippians 3:8 abusive?

How about Ephesians 5:3-4 But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.

Again I ask, how do you decide which words are filthy? Words that glorify or make light of sexual immorality are filthy. Those words don't have to be four letter words. You can make light of sexual immorality in very refined language.

The word for crude joking is "eutrapelia" If you know a little Greek, you know that the prefix "eu" means good, as in eulogy, or euphemism. Why then is this word for jesting translated coarse jesting? The context requires it, but it is worth noting that the word was usually used in earlier Greek in a postive way. It just means "wit". Calvin writes, "The Greek word eutrapelia is often used by heathen writers in a good sense, for sharp and salty pleasantry in which able and intelligent men may properly indulge. But as it is exceedingly difficult to be witty without becoming biting...Paul very properly recalls us from it." We must be careful about using our wit for the evil ends of cursing others.

I know, I know, I'm so totally busted. I am beginning to pray regularly for God to change me in this regard. And this is why we must not let the Pharisees dumb this verse down into just a prohibition of potty words. I want the real holiness of a tongue that blesses others and is a fountain of life, not the counterfeit holiness of a tongue that seldom says the seven dirty words.

Mark Driscoll is a pastor who sometimes gets into hot water for saying words that some regard as profane. One angry reformed blogger responded by calling Driscoll a theological lightweight and that no one (including John Piper who invited him to speak as his conference next month) would be paying attention to him if he didn't have 5000 people coming to his church. Now I ask you, would that statement be any more sinful if he had called Driscoll a freakin' lightweight? I don't think so.

Pastor Steve said...

I can't help but think that if someone is so brash as to lower Christ by these jokes that something else is wrong with Mr. Driscoll. Out of the heart the mouth speaks. Somehow he doesn't have the reference for Christ that he should, and this has to eventually spill over into other areas of his life or ministry (perhaps it already has). Worship is the first thing that comes to my mind as possibly suffering.

I'm not asking us to go on a witch hunt, but I think this is telling of a bigger problem.

Phil Johnson said...

To all:

I'm very serious about Rule 2 in the right sidebar, espeially in a discussion about inapproriate language and subject matter. We don't need anyone to post a glossary of synonymns for private body functions, and I don't appreciate those who want to test the limit by giving examples of borderline words they think are just fine.

That goes for minced oaths, soundalike words used in place of God's name, abbreviations or deliberate misspellings, etc.

I'm not suggesting you're sinning every time you use such expressions. I AM saying there are places where they are simply not appropriate. As Rule 2 makes clear, the meta of this blog is just such a place. I DO routinely delete comments where people violate that principle, and I don't have time to write an explanation or give a defense every time it happens.

Here's a healthy rule of thumb: don't use words you wouldn't use in front of a 65-year-old Sunday-school teacher named Prudence.

Also, please respect the home-school moms who lurk here.

If you feel you really need to push the limits of propriety by posting more of the very kind of thing I have suggested is irreverent and totally unnecessary, start your own blog and do it there.

We now return you to our regularly scheduled programing.

C. Stirling Bartholomew said...

I agree that Piper is nuts if he really means what he said about the right and left hands. Both hands matter. The attempt to divorce the medium from the message is wrong headed. Snuff flicks do not represent a genre which lends itself to presenting the gospel.

I also agree that any language that could be understood as disrespectful in regard to Jesus or The Father or the Holy Spirit, is outside the boundaries of acceptable discourse. When and if Driscoll does this he should be nailed for it.

I also agree that Driscoll's concept of culture is very low-brow and he seems to think we should all wallow in the sewer of pop culture so we can be relevant. I think this is wrong headed, if you wallow in it you are going to get our clothes dirty and you will smell bad.

Benjamin P. Glaser said...

I think in the usage of the porn star allegory a use of I Cor 5.

9I wrote you in my letter (P)not to associate with immoral people;

10I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with (Q)idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world.

11But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called (R)brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or (S)an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler--not even to eat with such a one.

12For what have I to do with judging (T)outsiders? (U)Do you not judge those who are within the church?

13But those who are outside, God judges. (V)REMOVE THE WICKED MAN FROM AMONG YOURSELVES.

Anonymous said...


I really appreciate this post, as I have wrestled with the 1 Cor 9 passage for a while now, especially as it has been applied to questionable practices in evangelism. Dr. MacArthur's chapter in this regard in Ashamed of the Gospel has been helpful as well, and I see your comments as being right in line with his.

"Reverence" I think is the key word. Certainly the person and work of Christ should evoke awe and fear (in that godly, biblical way) and a realization that while in His humanity He condescended to indentify with us, He is still also 100% fully God, who is altogether unlike us.

Any evangelism or ministry that does not convey that is not following Paul's pattern in 1 Cor 9.

Anonymous said...

In the course of debate, great truths have been reaffirmed here.

Christ Jesus is the fullness and radiance of God.

We love Him, and affirm His divinity.

Let us love Christ Jesus more than we love another man.

With that said, TeamPyro have produced some great writings this week. Good job, mates.

I know it is becuase He loved you first, and you love Him in return.

How many times can I say 'Love'?

Good question.

Jeremy Weaver said...

I've got a comment to make, but am waiting till I get home to make it. Till then, Great post.

Aaron Mills said...

Some may think I'm being arrogant, but I don't think a man with Driscoll's mouth should be in the ministry. This debate about what constitutes a naughty word is a downer when it's a debate among Christians. Y'all know what words are profane, and it's dancing a little jig around plain common sense to play the cultural relativism card. The fact is, you live in this culture and you know what words are appropriate and what ones are not. You would never debate this if your local liberal politician was spouting off against Christian values using similar language, or speaking about the Lord the way Mr. Driscoll was. For all the people who want to defend the way Driscoll portrays the Lord's humanity, quote me one verse in the Bible that does so in the same manner. He is portrayed as tired, thirsty, hungry etc., where are there any other aspects of His biology referred to? This isn't a high school cafeteria where finger-pullin' jokes are funny for nerds. This is in reference to Christ, the Lord of glory, the Son of God, who poured out His life to save sinners. Think about it....

Mathew Sims said...

I for one appreciated your even-handedness. I fall into the same category as you. I like (actually I really like) Mark Driscoll. God seems to be doing a work through him in Seattle. However, I don't think its beneficial to use off color jokes from the pulpit. Nor is it valid to say, "but those jokes are not off color in Seattle." Oddly enough (if I'm not mistkaen) Driscoll himself admits his language is a problem sometimes (I can't remember the source where I heard him say that...maybe someone else can). So what's the hoora about. This is really just a call to action. Be carefull with what you say. We could all do well to heed that warning.

Who knows?

ReformedMommy said...

Perhaps a helpful additional clarification would be whether your are offended by Driscoll's discussion of the less glamorous aspects of Jesus' humanity at all, or rather the particular verbiage and tone he used to describe them.
Much of his discussions of the nature of Christ's perfect humanity have been a source of renewed hope and trasformation for me - Jesus experienced the same circumstantial and bodily trials as me, yet never was sinfully angry, despondent, etc. Because his Spirit lives in me, I now am divinely capable of this same attitude - something I'd never understood in my ten years at Grace Community.

On the other hand, the fact that I need to consider whether or not to have my kids in the room when the manner of his speech becomes unseemly has caused me to pray for him, that the Holy Spirit might convict him that, for the sake of his effectiveness and out of love for Jesus, he might be prompted to clean things up.

Steve W. Prost said...

Some (like c. sterling bartholomew in his comment above calling Piper "nuts" based on Turk's post) may get the mistaken impression that Piper said that things beyond those core theological issues 'don't matter to him' as far as form. From having read Challies' summary of Piper's comments about Driscoll, this is way out of context.

From reading Challies' summary of what was actually being said, we see Piper actually was speaking of his decision to invite Driscoll to a conference concerned with bringing Christ to a postmodern world. Piper was setting up a serious criticism of Driscoll for a 'right hand' issue, saying in effect that Driscoll's tendency to be culturally "clever" could even be something "dangerous" -- a criticism that earned Piper some backlash of criticism himself. Anyone familiar with Piper's views of preaching knows he plays utmost emphasis on HOW (not just WHAT) we preach as absolutely essential; he pushes constant 'bloodearnestness' and reprobates ALL light joking and frivolity in the pulpit. I take the comment 'not look at the right hand' in relation to that very specific context of his discussion, and speaking relativistically, but its purpose was to soften the blow of a criticism of a 'right-hand' issue and say it was not as important relative to the theological issues.

Anyway, here's an excerpt of Challies' summary of Piper's comments at :

[ Piper began by explaining how he thinks about who he hangs out with and how he decides who to invite to speak. "I have a litmus paper and its called theology," he said. He referenced a point Driscoll had made in his talk about the importance of holding certain unchanging truths in our left hand that are the non-negotiables of the faith, while being willing to contextualize and differ on secondary issues and stylistically (these are "right hand" issues). Driscoll had listed nine issues we need to contend for, including the authority of God's word, the sovereignty of God, Penal Substitutionary Atonement, the exclusivity of Christ, and gender roles, to name a few.
So Piper said, "If he [Driscoll] has those nine things in his left hand, I'm not even going to look at his right hand." The audience clapped loudly for this. Then Piper went on to share that he does have some differences with Driscoll on some so-called "right hand" issues of style, which he feels free to share with Driscoll. He went on to share a specific one, noting that Driscoll would get to see this on video. (This was the moment I was glad I wasn't Mark!)

As if he were speaking to Mark, he said (and I paraphrase), "A pastor cannot be clever and show Christ as glorious. Mark Driscoll, you're clever. You have an amazing ability to turn a phrase and make statements that draw people back week after week. But IT'S DANGEROUS...
In essence, Piper was bringing correction to certain aspects of Driscoll's style and delivery, while stating that they agreed on the most important issues of doctrine.]
Challies at http://www.challies.com/archives/002121.php]

Rob Steele said...


You have applied the boot to the bottom in a vigorous manner.

Respectfully & etc.

Steve said...

When a pastor speaks, his words should point our focus upon God.

No matter where one stands in regard to the poor choices Driscoll is making at the pulpit, there's no question it's calling way too much attention to himself and not to God. Shouldn't that serve as a wake-up call to him?

It's tragic that so many seem more concerned about protecting Driscoll's choice to be crude--which the Bible clearly addresses--than than protecting the perception listeners may cultivate about God. That God deserves nothing less than our full reverence is plain in Scripture. How much more so in the pulpit!

Mark C. Hanson said...


You made a good point when you said, “in fact he is saying, "to those who have a weak conscience and do not have liberty in (for example) dietary laws I became weak like them, extra sensitive to their conscientious observance." I think though you missed Paul’s dual teaching here by emphasizing the Romans 14 principle to the exclusion of Paul’s missional theme in chapter 9 verse 21, “To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law.” Cannot we adapt things of cultures or subcultures that are not morally wrong or stem from an ungodly motive? For instance, could I not wear Fubu clothes and my Raiders hat half-sideways while witnessing to African-Americans in Oakland? The Gospel of course does have implications culturally but we have a lot of flexibility as to how we can contextualize ourselves and our message to different cultures and sub-cultures.

In Christ,

Mark C. Hanson (TMC graduate)

Daniel said...

Frank - this is the sort of post that got me reading your blog in the first place!

Next time I make a post and have to use the words "even handed" - I think I will link to this post to demonstrate the meaning.

Great job!

FX Turk said...

Can I say that I have been somewhat circumspect to avoid all the various metaphors of "handing out a beating" in this post for a specific reason: I think that we, on the frumpy side of Christianity ("we" includes "me", so please: no hate mail), need to be the kind of people we want those we are concerned for to be.

That is, we need to be Christ-like! That doesn't mean we shy away from controversy, but it does mean we handle controversy with charity and truth and love.

I hope this post has been an example of that for the sake of the men and women receiving the Gospel in Seattle, and for the sake of those delivering it.

FX Turk said...


I receive your point from 1Cor 9, but I suggest this -- I am fairly certain Paul is not saying that he exercised more liberty with Gentiles but more service.

Here's what I mean by that: I think it is unquestionable that Paul is implying, on-net, that he didn't obey dietary law (as one example) when he was with the Gentiles -- but the dietary law was not a matter of conscience for the gentile, and it is not a matter of obedience to Christ. So it's a negotiable.

But my comparative example -- the way women were encouraged to dress in Ephesus -- immediately places the "gentile among the gentiles" interpretation into a context that makes us look at all aspects of the culture we are trying to reach in fine detail.

I have no problem, for example, with people who want to dress in black. Whatever -- if you like a noir pallet, you're on, dude. But I have a problem with people who, allegedly for the sake of the Gospel, tattoo themselves with pagan symbols. [cue controversy]

I have no problem with people who want to talk in street slang, for example. If that's your trip, brother, and you can phrase the word of God adequately in that idiom, amen. I have a problem when one tries to use the derrogatives of that idiom (which I omit here for the sake of the rules) and say that those words -- which are used intentionally to demean and to debase -- are necessary for Gospel ministry when they are in that idiom a tool of social degradation.

And potty humor about Christ, without any doubt, is not something inherently good about the subculture Pastor Driscoll is ministering to. Sorry. That's self-deception if you want to say that it is. That's not simply crossing out of Judaism into gentile paganism: that's crossing the line from honoring the image of God in men and women to allowing your wife to dress like a prostitute.

FX Turk said...


All good toadies and sidekicks go to heaven.

Somehow you beat Gummby to the punch, and for him I am ashamed.

Mark C. Hanson said...


Because I am hungry and am about to go get some spice chicken burritos from Taco Bell I shall make this short and quick.

I completely agree now with your clarification and application of I Corinthians 9:21!


Brian @ voiceofthesheep said...

"that's crossing the line from honoring the image of God in men and women to allowing your wife to dress like a prostitute."

Great observation, Frank. And I want to thank both you and Phil for your willingness to address this issue, and in a way that has honored and glorified Christ.

To those who still seem to think what Mark does is no big deal...I would suggest that you go listen (if you haven't already)to the link Phil provided in his post 'Fed Up', but I don't want to be responsible for scandalizing you. If you have listened and it still doesn't bother you, may I suggest that you might be a tad de-sensitized to crude and tacky language.

That audio should be all it takes for anyone who has ears to hear to understand what is being objected to about Mark's mouth, and the resulting disrespect for the Savior.

Great discussion, guys.

David A. Carlson said...

Frank said:
I cannot fathom why he wants to make a joke at the pulpit for which my wife would send my son to his room for the night if he made it at the dinner table. That's not relevence: that's pandering. I recognize it because I am also attracted by it.It's great to get a response from the audience, but we have to remember that we are stewards and messengers and not spinners of riffs at the Improv.

So true for more than just you.

LeeC said...

My main thought throughout this is "What does the word 'holy' mean?"

To me this is the crux. Do you value holiness? If you do not, then how do you reconcile that with Scripture? And if you do not value holiness in your own life how about valuing the Holiness of God in His Son Christ Jesus?

C. Stirling Bartholomew said...

Steve W. Prost said

.Some (like c. sterling bartholomew in his comment above calling Piper "nuts" based on Turk's post) may get the mistaken impression that Piper said that things beyond those core theological issues 'don't matter to him' as far as form ...


I listened to the whole Piper conference several times. I didn't get it second hand. Thanks for helping me understand Piper's views. I am not a great fan of Piper's. I took interest because Driscoll was there and I was curious how he would fare with folks like David Wells :-)) Piper and Driscoll are an not from the same galaxy and I think Driscoll has more at risk in this friendship than anyone else. If he bends to meet the demands of the Piper types will his ministry survive?

If Driscoll was house broken most of you guys wouldn't be the least bit interested in what he as to say. Think about it.

DJP said...

For whatever record:

1. For people making statements about "Teampyro" and its position on this, or even Frank saying he's the only Pyro who likes Driscoll: I really haven't said anything about all this. At all.

2. Reason's not too deep, though. I just don't know enough really to have a blanket opinon, up or down, on Driscoll.

3. I did however listen to Rob Bell's ser... talk... er, thingie. Thanks a lot, Phil; there's 30-something minutes of my life I'll never get back.

4. That is now the weirdest (and next-to-stupidest) ser/talk/thingie I recall hearing. Guy sure thinks he's cute, though.

5. Now I understand better why I keep seeing his name at Slice. What a maroon.

5. I'm in-process on the Driscoll sermon and, like everyone says, so far it's almost-all very good. I'm nearing the trouble-zone, I guess.

As you were.

LeeC said...

"If he bends to meet the demands of the Piper types will his ministry survive?"

Driscoll is no more in control over whether his ministry survives than MacArthur, Sproul, Piper or any other pastor.

Dont bend to Piper or anyone else. But bend to meet the demands of Scripture. honestly search the Word without the chip on the shoulder at "those stodgy types".

On the other hand, if his ministry fails because he is less trendy and catchy, well then it wasn't the truth of God that drew the crowd is it?

I hated hymns when I first started going to church. It was NOT the kind of music I liked...then I listened to the words. I tell you now there is no song I like better than most of the old hymns.


It certainly is not because I like their meter, or tune better, but it is because of the truth they teach.

It is the truth of Gods Word I love, not the sound of the music, the cut of the pastors clothes or his funny jokes or hip slang.

~Mark said...

"Here's a healthy rule of thumb: don't use words you wouldn't use in front of a 65-year-old Sunday-school teacher named Prudence."

~Excellent rule for speaking or writing in mixed company at any time!

Dennis Elslager said...


Wow! I am fairly new at this blogging fellowship and debate but I do see the Body of Christ at work. Christ is on the Throne and those of His own, as Paul said,: “are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.” Hypocrites, liars, and those who pervert God’s Word (I must inject “There is no specific accusation here”) can be discerned over time through the “unction” just as in any other form of communication or interaction.. I am finding it amazing to see it happen here. I do find myself growing in the grace and knowledge of the Lord as I keep my thoughts in His Words with prayer here.

As for “the use of words” in ministering the pure Gospel of Jesus Christ, in what spirit are these words being used? What do they invoke in the minds of others, both the saved and the unsaved, both the spiritually mature and those known as babes? Should this matter to us as believers reflecting the holiness (purity and separateness) of our Savior? He was living as one of us do know (earthly human) for a mere 33 years. What is this to our Eternal God and Savior, Jesus Christ? May we proportion our ministering of Him accordingly.

When Jesus said: “Are you also still without understanding? “Do you not yet understand that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and is eliminated? “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. “These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man.”

It didn’t occur to me to be spiritually or otherwise beneficial or edifying to expound on the aspect of “elimination”. And as I hear this is being expounded upon in a crude manner without edification but rather for “appeal”, all the more do I see this is not helpful to anyone saved, unsaved, mature, or babes. “But we do all things, beloved, for your edification” (2 Cor 12) “We then who are strong ought to bear with the scruples of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification”(Rom 15). “Let all things be done for edification” (1 Cor 14). Did he really mean “all things”? Or is it “Yea, hath God said,...?”

How can we take some of God’s Words and pervert them into a “liberty” by ignoring His other Words? Sounds rather like some tricky bondage to me.

“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things”(Phil rule# 4). And: “Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. “But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. 37“For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Mt 12).

Please, no specific accusations here, just God’s Word to consider. Don’t take it personally unless it is something personal.

Is not our goal as the priesthood of believers to “meditate day and night on God’s Word”, “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.”? And does not a little leaven of “twisted liberties” work towards leavening the whole Church? I can’t accept this “freedom of speech” for my communication of the Living Word of my God. If you do, you are accountable to God for it.

jen said...

Phil mentioned the sensitivities of home school moms and SS teachers named Prudence. My teens cyberschool; does that count?

During my complete immersion in the world prior to my salvation, I have heard --and probably said-- far worse than I have heard from Driscoll (though never about the Lord). So do the words or phrases shock me? Not at all. What shocks me is the source -- the fact that a pastor would say them about a Holy God.

What wooed me away from the world was seeing the lives of people who were different; peculiar, if you will. Not the folks who acted and sounded just like me. If I were "witnessed to" by someone who sounded just like me, where would I see my need for change? And frankly, why would I be interested in a "saviour" who was presented so crudely, and so thoroughly human as to possibly obscure his holiness? I suppose if I just wanted to escape hell and not really have a heart and life change, this saviour might appeal.

But the Saviour I met was fully human (during the incarnation) and fully God. And I met Him through people who were imperfect, but respected the Lord as holy. As I said in Phil's last post, it never entered my mind until then about our Lord's bathroom situation. Somehow that never seemed important to me when contemplating his incarnation. To my understanding, the point of the incarnation --along with the death, burial, and resurrection-- was this: For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Hebrews 4:15

I have yet to see in the Word those meaningless physical points of His life on earth, except that He ate, drank, and slept. Why would I really need to contemplate anything further?

In my previous comment on this thread, I put in the verse 1 Cor. 11:1. Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ. It seems to me that the emerging church has it backwards. Instead of their leaders imitating Christ, and calling others to imitate them, they are imitating the crowd.

Daniel Portela said...

DAN!!! (DJP)

We are melting here...


We know you know...

Brazilian greetings,


jen said...

In case anyone was confused--
I said: As I said in Phil's last post, it never entered my mind until then about our Lord's bathroom situation.

Hah! Excuse my lousy writing skills. The placement of this sentence makes it sound like I never thought about this until my conversion. What I meant was I never thought about this until Phil's post. lol

Jeremy Weaver said...

It seems to me that the point Frnak is making in this post has been universally missed by all Driscoll defenders.

I'm with Frank, I like Driscoll. I've heard him preach some of the best sermons I've ever heard. And yet in those sermons graphic language nearly undercut his message.

If this is what Mark Driscoll is holding in his 'context' hand, thinking that he must use this language to be relevant to his culture, then what's to keep any other sin out of that same 'context' hand? That is, of course, assuming that Phil's interpretation of Eph. 5:3-4 is correct (which it is).

So, if crude joking is a sin that is out of place among Christians, and yet Mark disregards this in his efforts to be missiologically-minded, what other sins prohibited by Scripture may not also be contextualized and framed as an effort to reach those who are guilty of the same sins? Did Christ come to save them from their sins, or to redeem their sins by making them a means for evangelization?

I think Frank summed it up well with this sentence, "Remember that those things are not the Gospel, nor are they vehicles for the Gospel: they are the symptom of our need for the Gospel."

And for good measure, here's a quote by James Petigru Boyce on the relevance of the Gospel in all ages,
"The truth is that no one age is so peculiar that the ministry of that age needs to be greatly different from that of any other. The work, like the man, is in all its integrity the same, and he who is well fitted for it in one age and clime would not find himself out of place were he transferred to another. The preaching of God's truth is governed by grand and general principles which are connected with God and man and which must, therefore, be as broad as humanity itself and as the relations sustained by it to God." Thus Sayeth The Lord, An Ordination Sermon by James Petigru Boyce.

candy said...

Frank. Excellent. You were honest, took your own weaknesses into account (which lent a graciousness to the post), but did not back down from the issues.

Frank Martens said...

C. Stirling Bartholomew: "I agree that Piper is nuts if he really means what he said about the right and left hands. Both hands matter. The attempt to divorce the medium from the message is wrong headed. Snuff flicks do not represent a genre which lends itself to presenting the gospel."

I keep reading comments like this and keep thinking of the methods in the other hands.

Here's my thought: Isn't this what the whole Lordship debate was about? Whatever is in the left hand (the theological understanding of Christ by the inner working of the spirit) produces good works, sanity, selflessness, cleanliness, etc... in the right?

So when people say that it doesn't matter what's in the right hand if the left hand is solid. That doesn't make sense. Because if the right hand isn't lining up with what the left hand is doing (i.e. going the other direction), isn't that like being double tongued?

OK... but I can see this question coming up now... what is the good stuff that the left hand produces out of the right hand? Which it seems is the issue here. But I don't think it should ever get said that it doesn't matter what's in the right hand. Because it does! Because the right hand are the "methods" or "deeds" or "work" or whatever ya want to call it.

Frank Martens said...

Take that last comment as a question, I'm curious to know the thoughts...

FX Turk said...

Now I have to go give a beating to NJOY ministries or something to get this taste out of my mouth. Is that hot coal? phleh.

Luke and Rachael said...


I'm wondering what you see as the crux of the difference (assuming you think there is one) between what you take to be be Driscoll's cultural accomodation and someone like Francis Schaeffer's method of apologetics/evangelism.

Schaeffer was big on this thing he called 'cultural exegesis'; he felt that Christians need to be up on where the culture's at in order to reach them most effectively. This might be different than what Driscoll's up to; but it might not be that different. I guess I'm issuing a plea for the man on Schaeferian grounds.

Matt Gumm said...

Somehow you beat Gummby to the punch, and for him I am ashamed.

Um, no. Gummby's gratuitous suck-uppance was deleted, along with your "Oops, I Didn't Mean to Post That" post. If I remember right, it said something about reading the draft (thanks, Bloglines!), and being glad that unity at the Pyro blog doesn't mean groupthink, like it seems to these days in the world and the church.

Sorry you didn't see it. I'll try to do better--right after I get my 90 page Appraisal done so I can pay some bills.

Oh, if only I had WordPerfect for DOS.

Phil Johnson said...

To be clear: I like Driscoll, too. I've heard him preach some fine sermons. The problem is not that his language is graphic, either. I like graphic language. The primary issue I have raised is one of propriety, piety, and reverence for Christ. The secondary issue is one of philosophy: I think the whole idea of "contextualization"—and especially the postmodern perversion of it—is both worldly and sinfully man-centered.

Jeremy Weaver said...

I said..."And yet in those sermons graphic language nearly undercut his message."
Let's cut 'graphic' out and paste 'overly colorful' in its place.

C. Stirling Bartholomew said...

RE: Driscoll and F.Schaeffer

If you want to compare Driscoll to Schaeffer you better stick with Franky not his father. Franky and Driscoll do have some significant things in common.

Francis A. Schaeffer advocated a serious engagement with modernism for the purpose of speaking truth to a world that didn't believe in truth. Schaeffer became conversant with cognitive architecture of late modernism and attempted to make this intelligible to evangelicals in his three early works Escape From Reason, The God Who Is There and He Is There and He Is Not Silent.

I what sense did Francis A. Schaeffer "contextualize" his message? By understanding the tensions within late modernism he was able to highlight the unstable predicament of modern man. He advocated pressing home the hopelessness of this predicament thus increasing the tension (angst?) in the man without god. All of this was done in the hope that the modern would come to a point of crisis and would be willing to listen to the gospel.

The point of this sketchy overview is to show why I don't think Driscoll his has much in common Francis A. Schaeffer.

James Scott Bell said...

Note to TeamPyro: I would very much like to see a post on what to look for to see if a ministry is doing a "great work." We all know that numbers alone don't show that. A 5000 member church is not a sign of a "great work," or else the greatest work in the country is being done by Joel Osteen. I know this is off topic, so I just pass it along because it's an issue I'm interested in exploring.

Solameanie said...

One poster here noted the holiness issue in all of this, and I think that is indeed where we have to look.

Read through the Gospels and see how Jesus was treated by His disciples. We never see them treating the Lord in an overly familiar manner. The Apostle John was the closest to Him, and that was shown by leaning back on the Lord's breast, not by "finger pulling."

Look in the Old Testament and see how keen God was (and is) on His holiness. If the High Priest did something by mistake in the Holy of Holies, he was struck dead. Moses was denied entry into the Promised Land because he did not treat God as holy before the people. All he did there was strike a rock instead of speaking to it, but God nailed him for it.

Just because Jesus experienced certain bodily functions common to humanity when He walked the earth is not carte blanche to be vulgar when referring to Him. After all, this is our Lord and God - sovereign Creator of the Universe. He died on the cross for our sins and rose again from the dead for our justification. We owe Him our all, our love, and especially our reverence. When He appeared to John in Revelation, did John slap him on the back and say, "Hey, Lord! Whazzup?" No, he did not. Instead, John fell on his face "like a dead man."

I would hate for the Lord to have to strike a few pastors dead in the pulpit to get the point across, but I could well see Him doing it. And before I get chided, yes, I am fully aware that the pulpit is not the equivalent of the Holy of Holies in the Temple. That is not my point. My point is that we serve a holy God, and Jesus is God the Son.

How about we start treating Him like that again, okay?

jen said...

Excellent word. Amen.

Dennis Elslager said...

Your words are filled with the reverence due to His Holy Name, as given from one who knows He has given you eternal life through the price He paid.

Thanks for honoring Him well with your words. May we all be careful to see Him in this Light in our every word of Him.

Frank Martens said...

JSB, not that we should continue to keep it off topic, but you should pick up MacArthur's book titled "The Book on Leadership" or "Hard to Believe" I think those two go where you are asking. And I also believe it goes where the owners of this blog would go.

Bhedr said...

Before long the "shock" preachers will have desensitised everyone and one day he will become the norm and a new generation of Howard Stern preachers will float in over the horizon and everyone will welcome them not even knowing any differant and calling you a legalist if you disagree. This is the way it always works.

Craig Schwarze said...

jwI know I sound like a broken record - my last comment on this issue.

I've been listening to Piper's excellent sermon on Spurgeon, "preaching through adversity".

He notes that the 1855 Essex Standard said the following about Spurgeon -

"His style is that of the vulgar colloquial, varied by rant....All the most solemn mysteries of our holy religion are by him rudely, roughly and impiously handled. Common sense is outraged and decency disgusted. His rantings are interspersed with coarse anecdotes."

lj said...

i don't feel quite as strongly or at all about his speech as you do. sometimes something he'll say in the sermon bugs me, but i get down to the heart of the message--Jesus. anyway...

mark driscoll is not Jesus. ::gasp::
James 3:2
We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check.

with that i'd like to say... mark does love Jesus. mark preaches 4x on Sunday. he is open to a lot of shots... all the time. it's no easy job. he loves the Lord and is convicted by Him. mark shares with us (MH) the ways in which the Lord has convicted him of sin. and many (including myself) have witnessed him grow in the area of the delivery of his message. in the end, you can trust the Holy Spirit to continue to change him (as you trust Him to change yourself or others). in the end, no book (except the Bible) is perfect, no person's words (except Jesus') is perfect....but we still read good books and listen to good sermons with discernment. God is awesome and faithful in using imperfect people to communicate the Truth. Doesn't it astonish you how much He uses us despite our wretchedness? If his delivery bothers you so much, I hope you spend more time praying for mark than you do writing an extensive blog on it..because i believe the former is more productive than the latter.

technically, i'm not supposed to have bothered to write this post. and in my opinion, if you're going to gripe about someone, gripe about someone NOT on your team. i take it you love the Lord and you love His Word. take shots at someone who doesn't--it it is really worthy of your time and honoring to Christ.

you don't have to take my word for it, but if there is one thing i know about MH and the way mark preaches is that people walk away thinking "Jesus should be my Lord." we (people of MH) might have a lot of differences between us, but the one thing that unites us is our love for Jesus and His Word and a continual seeking after Him to change us. Him, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior--not mark driscoll.

that's all. thanks for reading.

Daniel Portela said...

to feed more fuel into the fire...

Mark's Next Sermon

If the first one caused a hubbub I can even imagine this one...

David A. Carlson said...

What about Philippians 3:8 (skubalon)?

If it is good enough for Paul, is it good enough for us?

Dave said...

i'm only about halfway through the meta, but i felt compelled to stop and comment:

Thank you, Phil and Cent. Thank you.

Lots to think about here. Lots to pray over. Lots to excavate.

Peace and grace.

Pastor-Sort-of-Guy said...

Will Driscoll and EMC still be around tomorrow? Or, is it a passing fancy? My fear is that it is the former.

As for me, I purpose to be a pastor like my childhood pastor. He preached God's Word faithfully week to week. He conducted himself in an above reproach fashion. And, he loved us, the people of his congregation. We were never a big church. But, the difference he made in my life was huge. Because of him, I strive for the above three ingredients as a recipe for faithfulness.

Early in my ministry I struggled with satisfaction in the ministry. I found Kent Hugh's Liberating the Ministry from the Success Syndrome beyond value. Now, I'm happy to be what I am--a struggling podunk preacher who tries to keep things simple for people who need the Bible preached and lived out.

I say all this to suggest that much of the "strangeness" of Bell and Driscoll and other EMC leaders is the child of seeker-sensitive ambition to be big at the expense of being holy.

the_arkie said...

Ij: I would politely suggest that an intentionally planned sermon illustration is not "stumbling" as James is referring to in James 3:2. Deliberate and unintentional are two different things.

It is quite stimulating to analyze people (Driscoll, Schaffer, etc.) and valuable to do so for the purpose of sifting through the clutter of ideas. But the most important discussion is that which centers in on the ideas themselves, not the personalities with whom they are associated. We have to be careful not to feel so compelled to endorse or defend or repudiate individuals. When we are driven by a pro-_____ and anti-_____ way of thinking, that mentality easily leads into the old "I follow Paul, I follow Apollos" way of thinking that is addressed in 1 Corinthians 3.

The greater questions are this:

Why do we call it the "life-changing" gospel, if we don't truly live changed lives in the presence of those to whom we are witnessing (and among other believers)?

And on the other end of the spectrum, how will the gospel ever change lives if we never truly engage all people in our culture with the message in a way that is clear and genuine?

If Driscoll's way is out of balance (ascertained by this article) then what determines what the proper balance is?

It also seems like some of the comments are lumping sinful behavior and unwise behavior into the same category. One is very clear, the other is subjective.

OK. That's my two cents worth! A very stimulating discussion, indeed. Hold fast to the Word!!


lj said...

the point i was trying to make with that verse is that no one is perfect. on a contextual note, James follows that verse with how we use our tongue in sinful manners. and he does mention using it to intentionally curse others (James 3:9). all that to say, i believe the verse was used in the correct context since James talks about intentional and unintentional uses of our tongue that tend to be dishonoring to God. "no human being can tame the tongue" (James 3:8). that is not to say that we should just let it loose and not train ourselves to be disciplined (since through Christ's strength, we can do all things), but it is to say that no one uses their tongue perfectly.

donsands said...

"people need the Bible preached"


Thanks for sharing your heart. Keep on.

The bottom line is the Father sanctifying His elect children, so that we bring glory to His name.

This is by living a life of worship, service, and gospel preaching, motivated by His love for us. Always being fervantly loyal to the Cross, where we do all our boasting; at the foot of His glorious Cross.

As I survey the wondrous Cross,
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.