One of the things i have learned about blogging is that some of the best Biblical posts often receive the smallest amount of press. Typically the most read posts are ones that “stir the pot”. In other words, just like in marketing “controversy sells!” The temptation for those of us who enjoy Christian blogging is obvious.
One of my best read blogs (and i have not had many) was a critique of a Ligonier Pastor’s Conference i attended where the guest speakers were escorted in limos. Let me say again that I love Dr. Sproul and the conference itself was wonderful. In this particular instance, I allowed myself to be played like a pawn by a group of bloggers that had it out for R.C. and R.C. Jr. What i said in the blog i believed but i allowed this post to be used in a way that i did not agree with. At the end of the day it was a good learning experience.
With that said, I am still puzzled when i read articles like this about Mark Driscoll in places like the NY Times. “Who Would Jesus Smack Down?” http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/11/magazine/11punk-t.html?_r=2&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss&pagewanted=all
Under the picture the following caption reads, “Mark Driscoll whom conservatives call ‘the cussing pastor.‘”
The article then begins like this, Mark Driscoll’s sermons are mostly too racy to post on GodTube, the evangelical Christian “family friendly” video-posting Web site. With titles like “Biblical Oral Sex” and “Pleasuring Your Spouse,” his clips do not stand a chance against the site’s content filters. No matter: YouTube is where Driscoll, the pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, would rather be. Unsuspecting sinners who type in popular keywords may suddenly find themselves face to face with a husky-voiced preacher in a black skateboarder’s jacket and skull T-shirt. An “Under 17 Requires Adult Permission” warning flashes before the video cuts to evening services at Mars Hill, where an anonymous audience member has just text-messaged a question to the screen onstage: “Pastor Mark, is masturbation a valid form of birth control?”
Driscoll doesn’t miss a beat: “I had one guy quote Ecclesiastes 9:10, which says, ‘Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.’ ” The audience bursts out laughing. Next Pastor Mark is warning them about lust and exalting the confines of marriage, one hand jammed in his jeans pocket while the other waves his Bible. Even the skeptical viewer must admit that whatever Driscoll’s opinion of certain recreational activities, he has the coolest style and foulest mouth of any preacher you’ve ever seen.
Mark Driscoll is now a well known pastor, author, and Christian conference speaker. Perhaps no conservative minister has done more to help promote Driscoll’s ministry than Dr. John Piper. If you have not listened to Piper’s recent conference sermons you can find them here http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/ConferenceMessages/ByConference/41/ I found it ironic that the conference theme was titled the power and wonder of words. At the very least, i thought Driscoll was an odd choice for this particular conference (theme). I guess John Piper likes to stir the pot a bit too.
Pastor John MacArthur addressed some of these issues with regards to Contextualization at the last Shepherd’s Conference. I thought his analysis was spot on and indirectly speaks to the issue at hand. You can find that sermon here http://www.shepherdsfellowship.org/SC/ (It is the sermon that addresses the ‘church growth movement’)
In case anyone wants to get on me for not talking to Mark Driscoll directly let me say I have written Mars Hill/Mark a letter expressing some of my concerns with regards to his teaching ministry (choice of words, etc). I never did receive a response back.
I am grateful for Mark’s commitment to the gospel and for his love for the lost. He is reaching a tough crowd and we should all praise God for that. Mark we love you brother; some of us are simply concerned that many young pastors believe your way of teaching and model for how to do church is the way to go. No doubt, being hip and controversial can help draw young people and the unchurched to church…Yet for me the ultimate verdict is still out. More on this point another time.