Driscoll’s missed opportunity…

…came at the end of his interview with D.L. Hughley at CNN:

DL: The thing about religion, I come from a very religious background. You had to go to church all the time. My wife is very religious. I am not an atheist. I certainly believe in God. But I’ve seen so much hypocrisy and so many things that just kind of put me on the wrong side of things. What do you say to people like me? I’m a guy who’s had my experiences, but I still come away feeling a little bit apathetic toward religion. What about me?

MD: You know what, that’s a great question. I think what you probably love about your wife—if she belongs to God—is that she loves you and encourages you and she serves you and you see what God’s done in her heart and in her character

DL: I do love that about her. But there are aspects—when it comes to religion and the way that I grew up and the things that I saw—that are juxtaposed to what you’re supposed to be when you’re a Christian, and really, they have made me apathetic.

MD: Yeah, but what about Jesus, D.L.? I’ll just get right to the issue. Religion has all kinds of problems. Churches have all kinds of problems. But Jesus—Jesus is the big issue. Do you like Jesus? Do you dig Jesus?

DL: Oh, absolutely, absolutely.

MD: Well then I think that’s really what matters at the end of the day. I mean, churches are filled with people who are imperfect and sinful, and Jesus is working on ‘em all.

DL: Now I’ve got a rabbi and a preacher. Thank you Mr. Mark Driscoll. Thank you very much. Very funny.

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19 responses to this post.

  1. Missed Opportunity? Or not enough time to share the Gospel on a CNN “comedy news” show? Or maybe it was edited for time? How about giving him the benefit of the doubt?

  2. Posted by Jesusfreak on February 16, 2009 at 5:50 pm

    I agree with Van. We need to give him the benefit of the doubt. You can’t expect someone to openly spread the gospel to the person they are speaking to everytime the conversation turns to religion.

  3. Posted by Morgan on February 16, 2009 at 6:51 pm

    “You can’t expect someone to openly spread the gospel to the person they are speaking to everytime the conversation turns to religion.”

    Really? In my reading of the NT it seems that’s precisely what Jesus and Paul typically did.

    As someone who does like Mark Driscoll on many points, I believe it’s a straw man to think we have to be either all-for or all-against someone at the center of controversy. I subscribe to Driscoll’s podcast and enjoy a lot of what he has to say. But agreeing with Matt on this one, Driscoll missed a big opportunity here. When Hughley tees up the ball that perfectly, and still leaves thinking he and Driscoll are on the same team, something went wrong. We all have missed opportunities. Let’s use this as a reminder to be clear and to the point. The gospel is foolish, not complicated. Thanks Matt.

  4. Posted by alanreynolds on February 16, 2009 at 8:14 pm

    OK, in light of the previous post, I will agree 100% with this. He may not have had enough time to give a full, complete, unadulterated presentation of the gospel. However, he really dropped the ball on that one. Not only did Hughley “tee the ball up”,” as Morgan said, he was barking up Driscoll’s tree perfectly on that one. My jaw dropped when I heard Hughley ask Driscoll that question, as I thought “how could anyone have asked a better question?” Then it stayed dropped as I heard Driscoll drop the ball. But, again, we’re all imperfect, and I’m sure he’s kicked himself once or twice for not having a better answer.

  5. I too was disappointed by MD fouling that one off. Talk about missing a hanging curveball.

  6. Posted by Trey Edwards on February 16, 2009 at 10:36 pm

    @Morgan: “In my reading of the NT it seems that’s precisely what Jesus and Paul typically did.”

    Excellent point, I should have recognized that.

    However, I still think we should cut Mark some slack. I am quite perturbed at the amount of pastors and bloggers that continually beat on Mark Driscoll. Any one of us could have made his mistake in his place. Plus, it was secular television and there could have been several factors keeping him from making a gospel presentation, one being time constraints. He may have missed an excellent opportunity, but I’d imagine that if we went through every interview of people like Piper and MacArthur, they’ve done the exact same thing time and time again, it’s a simple mistake that is easy to make. Plus, we know through MD’s record that he’s not afraid of presenting the truth, no matter how much it will offend people, so if he did miss the opportunity, it wasn’t through lack of a desire to spread the Word.

    Sorry if I seem a little oversensitive here, I’m just rather frustrated with the high level of scrutiny that MD is put under as compared to other public-figure pastors like Piper or R.C. Sproul. If they mess up, we’re ready to forgive them, but if MD messes up, people are quick to pounce on him and point it out. John Piper vouches for his theology, and that’s good enough for me. He’s a Brother but people seem to treat him like a political figure running for office, always quick to point out each and every mistake he makes. Instead of building him up, defending, and encouraging him like Brothers in Christ, people seem to just waste their time badgering and harrasing him.

  7. Posted by Trey Edwards on February 16, 2009 at 10:41 pm

    Sorry, I am Jesusfreak. I thought I’d logged out of WordPress so I wouldn’t post under my name. I just don’t like WordPress linking to my blog in such a public arena. But what’s done is done, I’ll post under my name from now on.

  8. Posted by Morgan on February 17, 2009 at 12:03 am

    To Trey:

    Brother, I completely understand. I’ve often thought to myself that if I were MD I’d be afraid to by the wrong color T-Shirt and risk getting crucified on blogs nationwide 15 minutes later. MD has made some serious mistakes in his ministry that he has repented of, and I’m thankful that there are many who are recognizing that and treating him as a brother rather than sniping him. I do not believe Matt is a sniper or a hater, nor do I believe you’re accusing him of being one.

    What I saw occur in this interview is something I’ve been convicted of in my own life, which is the tendency to try and submit a cute and cunning gospel presentation, that often ends in a bunch of confusing rhetorical questions and arrives nowhere in the end. What I believe Matt is saying, and what I’m taking from all of this, is a sharp reminder that the gospel is foolishness, and it cannot be cleverly disguised – intentionally or unintentionally. If there is anything that MD has not been accused of it is sugar-coating the message. That is not what I’m accusing him of here. But I too am guilty of not “getting to the real issue” as he said himself, quickly and clearly enough. Pointedly describing for the sinner his pitiful condition before Holy God whom he has infinitely offended, and his need of the one hope that comes from the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. MD knows this as well as you and I do, but we all need a reminder that this message is a “stumbling block” to those who are perishing and being cute never makes it feel better. As John Piper said at the Resurgence conference, we preach the whole counsel of God, which is “ALWAYS relevant, whether one believes it to be or not.” Thanks for your post, Trey.

  9. Posted by Jeff on February 17, 2009 at 12:50 am

    D. L. Hughley at the end of the day. “But Lord did I not like you? Did I not dig you?”

    Then the Lord said, “Not everyone who says to Me, I like You, I dig You, shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.” It may have been a difficult time to share the gospel and to get an entire presentation of the gospel in, in the time allowed but, should Driscoll have made D.L. comfortable in his current state of unbelief? Instead of saying, “Then I think that’s what really matters at the end of the day”, perhaps Driscoll should have said “Man, I would really like the opportunity to talk with with you again about this matter.” That is the part of the interview that seemed to fall short to me, not the amount of time he had or didn’t have to share the gospel, but that he left D.L. with the thought that he was OK spiritually.

  10. Mark’s problem wasn’t editing. In fact, I didn’t see any evidence of editing…seemed to flow very evenly to me. He seemed more concerned with being hip and relevant than anything else.

  11. Gents-

    Thanks for all the comments. However, when you post future comments here at ET please do so using your first and last names. I believe that practice is a helpful one even on Christian blogs.

    Together for the Gospel—-

    Here is what Jerry Wragg said yesterday. It is worth reposting under this discussion as well.

    “What is it that makes us use such qualifying language when evaluating the public ministry of Driscoll? Why do we feel the need to speak of the “good things” he preaches and the “positive impact” he’s said to be having?

    If Driscoll were a student in your youth ministry, his raw and often obscene speech, his frequent cocky and condescending barbs at more traditional believers, and his penchant for salacious sermon content would invoke serious discipleship attention, admonitions about pride, and maybe even questions of where his mind grazes.

    Instead, we look for every possible way to affirm the guy. Whatever for? If he behaves like an immature adolescent, he should be shepherded as one. Having 8,000 20-somethings affirm your ministry has never been God’s automatic imprimature. Nor is a man exonerated by the endorsement of other respected ministry leaders. Men are just that…mere men. I have no doubt that highly respected evangelical pastors who give Driscoll a platform are sincere and genuinely positive in their affirmations. That doesn’t make them either correct or without culpability. Each man must stand before God on his own and give an answer, and stand only in Christ we will!

    For the record, not everyone who’s offered a critique of Driscoll is hopelessly lost in old-time-religion. Moreover, if the criticisms raise serious questions as to the man’s fittedness for public ministry, it is foolish to summarily dismiss them as unkind simply because they don’t recognize the “good qualities” of his ministry. Some critiques simply consider the potential dangers far more weighty than all the claims to positive fruit. Pastoral ministry, especially that which publishes material to the masses, bears a greater responsibility and therefore should invite closer and more demanding scrutiny. Many serious and thoroughly biblical criticisms have been lodged to bring clarity and sobriety to the debate. I believe strongly in being carefully irenic when dealing with errant brothers and sisters in Christ, but graciousness should never overshadow the essential diagnosis of a serious flaw. I had to learn the skill of a gentle yet serious warning, but either way the error being addressed remains in need of clear identification and vigilant repentance.

    So what are we afraid of with Driscoll? Do we feel the need to identify the “good” of his work to avoid being marginalized as “out of touch?” Do we think he’s qualified for ministry because he can articulate right theology? Is he an exception to being tested and proven in his pastoral character simply because his approach is novel and popular?

    Oh…and don’t bother critiquing my comments as too harsh or judgmental. Unless, of course, you’re going to first mention all the “positive” things about my theology and impact. Just afford me the same latitude given Driscoll.

    PS – In my opinion, Mark’s problem is that he pretends to do what he does “to reach 20 year old, single males,” when actually, he is simply living the “Christianity” he’s always secretly coveted: Cool, popular, funny, sensual, cocky, condescending, and independent. Huh…sounds just like a description of the imprudent young subjects of Solomon’s Proverbs. How ironic!”

  12. wow… Mark! I will give him the benefit of the doubt for the fact that he typically is quite bold, clear, and unashamed… but it did seem like he was bending a bit to fit in with DL and that crowd…

    I love Mark and follow his messages on itunes… but man, what a golden opportunity… maybe something was there that we just don’t know about but if it was face value what we saw… wow… mark… dude… you could’ve possibly brought the knowledge of sin to that man

    However, if DL is going to be saved, God is going to convict His heart and he will be saved… we just need to keep praying for him.. and Mark… because I agree he takes a beating sometimes over ridiculous things…

    i’m just sayin…

  13. James 3:1-2 So many of you stop becoming teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment. For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well.

    James then goes on to describe the horrors of the tongue. Why the warning to teachers? Because of the importance of what they say. How it affects, how it influences, how it guides, and what it reveals. For it is not what goes into the man that defiles him, but what comes out of the man; as what comes out reveals what is in the heart.

    I have been told that I am blunt, forthright, direct, bold, too strong, strident, and one who does not mince words in my preaching and teaching of the word. There have been times when my boldness and directness have offended people, but they were offended by the truth and were not offended by my being coarse, crude, suggestive, or salacious. There is a difference.

  14. Posted by Trey Edwards on February 17, 2009 at 7:12 pm

    @Morgan: Thank you for your considerate response, Morgan. I have been convicted of this as well, and I agree that the Gospel should never be sugar coated and never made to be “cute” and appealing.

    @Caleb Kolstad: “Thanks for all the comments. However, when you post future comments here at ET please do so using your first and last names. I believe that practice is a helpful one even on Christian blogs.”
    My apologies for posting under an alias. I have my reasons for doing so but I will post under my first and last name on ET from now on since that is your policy.

    “If he behaves like an immature adolescent, he should be shepherded as one.” Exactly! Yet what does the public do? It’s certainly not shepherding! Instead of going to him and warning him as a Brother in Christ that he is doing something wrong and needs to adjust his language/ministry accordingly, he is endlessly thrashed and criticized. Yet is that truly the response that we, as believers should have? Yes, he HAS done things wrongly in his ministry, yes he DID miss an opportunity in that public appearance. But should our response be to criticize him openly? “Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God.”(1st Cor 10:31) Does this kind of “sniping,” as one guy put it, glorify God? Does it build Mark up? Does it build other believers up? This post was titled “Driscoll’s missed opportunity,” yet Triablogue no solution was provided for the problem. Nothing was said that could be of use to Mark and us that would help us avoid similar mistakes in the future. All of the anti-Driscoll articles share something in common that I believe is wrong – All they do is tear down. They never build up. We criticize Mark’s actions without saying what the RIGHT thing to do was in his situation. He is our Brother, yet instead of treating him like such and trying to help him, we treat him as the guys from Triablogue treat unrepentant heretics.

    “ In my opinion, Mark’s problem is that he pretends to do what he does “to reach 20 year old, single males,” when actually, he is simply living the “Christianity” he’s always secretly coveted: Cool, popular, funny, sensual, cocky, condescending, and independent. Huh…sounds just like a description of the imprudent young subjects of Solomon’s Proverbs. How ironic!””

    Let’s think about that for a second… you criticize him for being “Cool, popular, funny, sensual, cocky, condescending, and independent.” What’s wrong each of those traits?
    “Cool, popular, funny”: There is nothing inherently wrong with being cool and popular as long as it doesn’t affect the content of your Gospel presentation, and I don’t see MD doing that.
    “sensual”: His congregation consists of “ 8,000 20-somethings” The most useful topic he can preach to them is that of sexual purity, so it’s no wonder that he deals with topics related to that so often.
    “Cocky, condescending”: Jesus himself used very offensive and condescending speech many times in his ministry. True, MD may use it inappropriately at times, but he recognizes this publicly as a fault of his and is working on it, so we should encourage him in this regard instead of pointing out his past faults.
    “Independent”: How is independence a bad thing? All males have a God-infused desire for authority and freedom that is perfectly biblical.

    “sounds just like a description of the imprudent young subjects of Solomon’s Proverbs. How ironic!”

    If he is the “imprudent young subject” of Solomon’s Proverbs, then we should deal with him in the tone and manner that Solomon is using in the Proverbs – that of providing admonishing and wise counsel. Was Solomon’s response to the young man portrayed in the Proverbs to blast his sin all over the front pages of the news? No, it was to approach him lovingly like a father and try to teach him to live wisely.

    “Nor is a man exonerated by the endorsement of other respected ministry leaders. Men are just that…mere men.”

    I don’t know whether you were still quoting Jerry Wragg at this point as there is no second quotation mark, but it seems ironic that you are using “a respected ministry leader” to influence our opinion of Mark by using what he said to tell us that we shouldn’t use “respected ministry leaders” to influence our opinion of Mark.

    “I believe strongly in being carefully irenic when dealing with errant brothers and sisters in Christ, but graciousness should never overshadow the essential diagnosis of a serious flaw. I had to learn the skill of a gentle yet serious warning, but either way the error being addressed remains in need of clear identification and vigilant repentance.”
    definition of irenic: “tending to promote peace or reconciliation; peaceful or conciliatory.” Conciliatory? All that was done in this post and in posts like this is to point out his flaws and what he’s done wrong. How does that benefit anyone? The most benefit anyone will gain from that is that we may not listen to his stuff. But they certainly aren’t posted in the interest of reconciliation.

    P.S.: This isn’t a personal attack on Caleb and Matt. I respect both of you as Christians and love both of you as Brothers, and my intent is not to beat you up but rather to lovingly point out that we should focus on building people up rather than tearing them down. Publicly making a show out of MD’s faults, however serious they may be, is unchristian, benefits no one, and does not glorify God. Mark Driscoll is our Brother, and we need to treat him like it, instead of treating him as a heretic. Pointing out his many faults without saying what he should have done instead in order to help both us and him from making the same mistakes is unloving and unfitting for Christians like us. As my pastor says “we need to be peacemakers, not peacebreakers.” If we have a problem with Mark Driscoll, we need to address that and help him solve it, not just point it out for the sake of controversy and public bashing.
    Again, this is not a personal attack on anyone. If it comes across as that, please forgive me. I am very inexperienced when it comes to debates like this and I am fully aware that sometimes I come across as too harsh. I mean all of you the best and if I sound overly harsh and critical, please know that that is not my intent.

  15. […] See here (don’t miss Jerry Wragg’s comment,) here for a take on the NYT article and here where we see that Driscoll evidently missed an opportunity to preach the gospel on […]

  16. Posted by Jerry Wragg on February 17, 2009 at 11:29 pm

    Trey –
    While I’m still preparing a lengthy response and analysis of the biblical issues involved, I wanted to briefly say that Driscoll has been personally confronted, regularly admonished, and publically challenged…all by friends, pastors, and notable evangelical leaders over the past five years regarding his quite well-known crudeness, yet to no avail. Besides the many personal warnings, there has also been very careful correspondence addressing each biblical concern, and still he changes nothing. In fact, from his recent books and some of his most recent sermons he continues to descend into far more base humor, making entertainment out of obscene and undignified speech (which is “not fitting among saints” – Eph 5:3-4).

    So when you imagine that he is simply misguided and needs our personal confrontation, I can assure you (I’m sorry to say) that is not the case.

    One more comment: You mention that being “Cool, popular, funny, sensual, cocky, condescending, and independent” is not necessarily sinful and therefore undeserving of criticism. How did you come to the conclusion that such pursuits and life-habits are fitting for pastors? 1 Tim 3:1ff is not ambiguous as to the shepherd’s proven character. Sinful or not, we’re not in the ministry for self-expression, public approval, or fun & games! The servant of God, called to lead God’s people, must not be self-willed, must exercise self-control and moderation in all his behavior, and must never encourage others toward sensual entertainment. What you consider harmless personality traits may, like anything in our lives, become an instrument of sin.

    As to Driscoll’s subject matter for the “20-somethings,” he doesn’t just speak on sexual purity. Let’s not kid ourselves, Driscoll parades some of the most sexually explicit content before the immature minds of a generation already losing the battle with sexual purity (he obviously has never raised teenagers in his own home). Quite frankly, I don’t need a novice-pastor/parent telling the rest of us how to reach the 20-somethings of our culture. We have plenty of these young people in our ministry, all who will attest to the fierce battle with sexual sin and immorality, both in their behavior and thought-life. Please reconsider your ideas about the harmless nature of Driscoll’s salacious, raw content. I’m telling you….it’s anything but harmless.

  17. […] Driscoll’s missed opportunity. I definitely think Driscoll blew it on this one. “Do you dig Jesus?” leaves it too […]

  18. Posted by Trey Edwards on February 18, 2009 at 9:32 am

    Thank you, Jerry Wragg, for your informative response.

    “Trey –
    While I’m still preparing a lengthy response and analysis of the biblical issues involved, I wanted to briefly say that Driscoll has been personally confronted, regularly admonished, and publically challenged…all by friends, pastors, and notable evangelical leaders over the past five years regarding his quite well-known crudeness, yet to no avail. Besides the many personal warnings, there has also been very careful correspondence addressing each biblical concern, and still he changes nothing. In fact, from his recent books and some of his most recent sermons he continues to descend into far more base humor, making entertainment out of obscene and undignified speech (which is “not fitting among saints” – Eph 5:3-4).”

    I was not aware of this, and it changes my position on the matter. If he has been confronted privately and remains unrepentant, that essentially makes him a false teacher.

    While I still believe that bashing him publicly isn’t the best way to handle the situation, I will trust in the wisdom of those wiser than me on the issue of discipline. I withdraw my objection.

    Thank you for proving me wrong here, Pastor Wragg. This serves to demonstrate that a man I thought I respected is actually rather dangerous and I now know to steer clear of him.

    Soli Deo Gloria!
    ~Trey Edwards.~

  19. Thanks to all for their interaction. Comments are now closed. Go read a book.

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