About that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?”Jesus called a little child to him and put the child among them. Then he said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.“And anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf is welcoming me. But if you cause one of these little ones who trusts in me to fall into sin, it would be better for you to have a large millstone tied around your neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea. “What sorrow awaits the world, because it tempts people to sin. Temptations are inevitable, but what sorrow awaits the person who does the tempting. - Matthew 18: 1-7 (NLT) Mark Driscoll is the pastor from the mega church in Seattle known as Mars Hill Church. He has carved out a niche for himself in modern church culture as being a brash straight shooter. A pastor who is not tied to all the old school church culture and trappings. He has been correctly accused of being less reverent concerning the office he holds. He has been correctly accused of preaching an overly sexualized gospel. He has discussed masturbation in the middle of sermons, jokingly using scripture to make certain humorous points. He unashamedly builds his church on the seeker-friendly purpose driven model and strives to be relevant before being reverent. He made news recently with his promotion of an upcoming conference by saying that the church is dying. While the overall statement is true, Pastor Driscoll fails to see that often he is the one wielding the murder weapon. Case in point we see this week Pastor Driscoll step up to the microphone regarding the Adrian Peterson matter. Peterson, is the star running back for the Minnesota Vikings, whose two year old son was just beaten to death by the current boyfriend of the child's mother. It is a horrific story that makes everyone who hears it angry at the injustice and senseless death. It also prompted this Facebook post from Mark Driscoll: Please pray for Christian running back Adrian Peterson. His 2-year-old son has reportedly died from an assault he received from the mother's boyfriend. These are the guys Jesus promised will get a millstone around their neck & free trip to the sea. Currently there are about 300 responses already as people took to Facebook to debate the posting. Early on on person suggested that we actually ought to be praying for the murderer as well and the crowd went ballistic. Suddenly every Driscoll sycophant and pastor worshiper came out to defend what really is not defensible. As much as he hates to hear it, Mark Driscoll is wrong here. He is wrong on many levels. Let me preface all of this by saying it certainly appears to be very nitpicky to critique such a small Facebook posting. Then you step back and realize that over 200,000 people "like" the Driscoll page and over 400,000 people follow him on Twitter. We have a certain responsibility as preachers of the Word of God to represent Christ at all times. That responsibility only increases exponentially when you garner the type of following Driscoll has. As we look at the post we see there are problems with what was said as well as the motivation for saying it at all. Let us start with the statement overall posted by Pastor Driscoll. Some had complained about his pointing out that Peterson is a Christian. I think thou dost nitpick too much on that point. There is nothing wrong with calling for prayer for a fellow brother or sister in Christ who must be facing the most difficult time of their lives. The problem is with adding, "These are the guys Jesus promised will get a millstone around their neck and a free trip to the sea." While I understand the outrage at the nature of the crime that does not give us a right to manipulate Scripture. The key verses today contain the portion that Pastor Driscoll is referring to. Here we find Jesus teaching His disciples about two things - humility and sin. The usage of the little child was to illustrate what we need to be like in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. While they were arguing over who was the greatest, Jesus was trying to bring them back to reality. We must be humble like a little child. What of the millstone? Is Jesus really saying here that He will personally cast people into the depths of the sea with a millstone tied around their neck? Of course not. This of course makes the statement from Driscoll both factually and Scripturally inaccurate. What Jesus is saying is that it would be better to have been cast into the sea with a millstone tied around your neck! Not that He is promising to tie a millstone around their necks. More importantly Pastor Driscoll misunderstands that Jesus is not speaking about actual children here. He is speaking about people who accept the kingdom LIKE a child. Most commentaries speak to this fact - that Jesus is using the child as an example of someone who is a believer and believes like a child. That means they love and trust unconditionally. John Gill's Exposition of the Bible points out that the child in question could not possibly have "put their trust in Jesus" as the Messiah is referencing here. What Jesus is teaching is that no matter how learned or unlearned one is in their faith - you better not be the one trying to lead them away from that faith! This is a warning for people who preach false gospels or avoid bringing the whole truth. Paul understood this when he told the Ephesian elders that he was free of their blood because he did not hesitate to proclaim the entire Gospel. We speak a great deal about the importance of leading people to Christ but how many people are stacking up judgment against themselves for the people they have led away from Christ? THOSE are the people Jesus is saying it would be better to have a millstone tied around their neck. Lastly though it is important to look at the motivation behind adding such an inflammatory ending to his post. Mark Driscoll is a man so it is perfectly understandable that we allow emotions get the better of us. The only purpose the ending has is to incite anger and stoke rage. It is not unfamiliar. I remember after the Casey Anthony verdict how many Christians were outraged. I remember reading David that day asking God why the wicked prosper. The truth is beloved that the wicked do not prosper. Nothing gets by God. It is actually our responsibility to pray for the man who committed this horrific crime. Remember - we were all destined for the alternative to the millstone. It was only through God's grace that we stand now on the right side of salvation. You may be saying that you aren't a murderer but realize how God sees things: Anyone who hates another brother or sister is really a murderer at heart. And you know that murderers don’t have eternal life within them. - 1John 3: 15 (NLT) I do not want to be found in the business of drawing lines to separate out one sinner from heaven who is genuinely repentant because one day someone could draw that same line and I might be found on the wrong side of it. God does not wish to see any perish beloved. It is easy to pray for the nice people. It is not so easy to pray for the people who murder a two year old. As a Christian however, that is what we are called to do. As a pastor, we have an even higher calling. Feed the call for prayer. Feed the call for mercy. Feed the call for grace. Starve the bloodlust. With over 600,000 people following your words, you need to be better at choosing them. This was not "telling it like it is." This was allowing your flesh to get ahead of your mouth. Pray for Pastor Driscoll so that he may see the potential danger in what he said and that he might be more careful in the future. Pray for Adrian Peterson because none of us want to ever imagine what he is going through. Pray even for the perpetrator of this act. Pray that his heart is open to receive Jesus Christ before he leaves this earth. Remember, the Apostle Paul once presided over the deaths of Christians! No one is beyond the redemption of Christ! No one. Lay down your millstone and be not so quick to deal in death and judgment. Rev. Anthony.