Daily Thought - Pastor Driscoll Misses The Mark Once Again

Discussion in 'Thoughts for Today' started by anthony wade, Oct 1, 2013.

  1. Therefore, come out from among unbelievers,and separate yourselves from them, saysthe Lord.Don’t touch their filthy things,and I will welcome you. - 2Corinthians 6: 17 (NLT)

    Pastor Mark Driscoll leads the 15,000 strong congregation at Mars Hill Church in Seattle. Known for his outspokenness and non-traditional style, Driscoll has often found himself at the brunt of criticism. Unfortunately, he has always seemed very thinned skinned when it comes to legitimate concerns people might bring up. A few years back Driscoll had penned an opinion editorial in the Washington Post about how the church should not make a big deal about the Easter Bunny, which prompted this response from me:


    By his own words, Pastor Mark revealed one of the great flaws within the seeker friendly mentality he was trained in. He wants to be relevant to the culture that is around him. We were not called to be culturally relevant but rather the opposite. We were called to be salt and light to a dying world.

    Driscoll is back in the headlines again this week as a letter surfaced he wrote which was addressed simply to "Christian." I try to keep in mind that this letter was designed to convince people to attend Driscoll's new annual conference, "Resurgence." Nevertheless, it once again reveals how far Driscoll keeps missing the mark. Here is the second paragraph:

    Christians are being ostracized, gay marriage is being legalized, the bandwagon has stopped carrying us and has started running over us. The church is dying and no one is noticing because we're wasting time criticizing instead of evangelizing.

    Pastor Driscoll does have one thing right - the church is dying. Perhaps because too many wannabe pastors are wasting time organizing conferences instead of evangelizing. Or maybe because too many mega church pastors refuse to look inward when presented with the truth. Either way, Driscoll's lament that the church is dying because we are wasting time criticizing misses the mark completely. Quite frankly there is not enough healthy criticism of what passes for church these days. Too many strains of leaven have been allowed into the body of Christ. Obvious heresies are embraced by huge denominations. Hucksters selling worldly prosperity over the riches of Christ are followed by the tens of thousands. Hyper-grace preachers distorting the Word of God and leading people into sinful lives are applauded. Meanwhile, those that would hold up the banner of doctrinal purity are labeled as critics and dismissed out of hand for not seeking unity.

    The sad truth Pastor Mark is that the church is dying because it has sought cultural relevance instead of biblical authority. The church is dying because it has embraced leadership theories from the best the world has to offer, church growth theories from the heart of carnality and worldly metrics to measure our success. We have cast aside doctrine for the sake of being seeker friendly. Within the purpose driven vernacular the unsaved are now referred to as the unchurched. That is why the church is dying. It is no longer offering what the world desperately needs - a Savior.

    For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.- Romans 1: 16 (NIV)

    You cannot change the Gospel and expect to maintain the power of God to save people. The Gospel alone is what holds the power to save people. We cannot continue to water it down and expect to see the church thrive. Do we realize what Jesus Himself said about the Gospel?

    “Don’t imagine that I came to bring peace to the earth! I came not to bring peace, but a sword. ‘I have come to set a man against his father,a daughter against her mother,and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.Your enemies will be right in your own household!’ “If you love your father or mother more than you love me, you are not worthy of being mine; or if you love your son or daughter more than me, you are not worthy of being mine. If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine.If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it. - Matthew 10: 34-39 (NLT)

    Well that doesn't sound very seeker friendly now does it? People do not need a three point slick sermon and then promises of earthly greed. We do not need the best choir voices and sharpest musicians. We do not need the opulent 80 million dollar facilities that rival the pride of the Tower of Babel. We need a Savior. We do not need to be emergent. We do not need to be purpose driven. We do not need to be churched. We need to be saved.

    In 2012 Mark Driscoll wrote in defense of the Easter Bunny that he did not want to become: "completely irrelevant or even antagonistic to culture and those weird Christians on the block, the ones everybody tries to avoid because they believe that being for Jesus also means being against fun." In 2013 he wrote that the church is dying. The problem is that he cannot connect his own dots. Instead, he blames the state of the dying church on those who would stick to true doctrine and dare to criticize him. Recently Driscoll came to the defense of Joel Osteen with this revealing commentary:

    "I am aware of the theological differences that exist between our tribe and Pastor Joel," Driscoll responded. "I also know my Reformed brothers like to treat Pastor Joel like a pinata, but there are worse things than being happy and encouraging at a time when the most common prescription medications are antidepressants."

    I do not treat Osteen like a pinata. I treat his teachings for what they are - a heretical gospel devoid of the power unto salvation spoken about in Romans 1. Within this statement however, Driscoll reveals the problem within the seeker friendly mindset. There are no worse things than being happy and encouraging during these times beloved. There are only equal things. The only thing that matters is if people are in a saving relationship with Jesus Christ. The rest of this is just window dressing. The reason the most common prescription medications are antidepressants is that the world needs a Savior. Being happy and encouraging to such people is akin to providing them a band-aid when they really needed a tourniquet. It may appear helpful but deep down there is a problem not being addressed. That is why the church is dying Pastor Driscoll. Not because people dare to correct false teachings but because false teachers continue to lead people away from the only thing that has the power to save them - the true Gospel of Jesus Christ.

    Rev. Anthony.
  2. Amen to that.

    I grew up on a Bible college campus that had a "outreach" musical drama each Christmas, which was advertised to our community as being "evangelistic." I remember at the end of one drama in particular, which was devoid of a gospel message, the speaker rounded off the evening with a message of "If you feel a warm, fuzzy feeling inside, maybe it's time to ask Jesus into your heart." I remember the feeling of conviction that brought me to Jesus -- it didn't feel so warm and fuzzy. Yeah, a watered-down "gospel message" in an attempt to be "seeker-friendly" is misguided. It seems deceitful, like we're offering people one "gospel" that's "good enough for now" until we have a less confrontational opportunity to give a more accurate gospel... it makes more sense, I think, to just be upfront with people about what we believe.

    I'm not totally familiar with how the term "cultural relevance" is used in practice, although I suspect that some people probably mean different things when they use that term. For example, what's the difference, by your understanding, between "cultural relevance" and Paul's concept of being "all things to all men" in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23?
  3. Thanks for the comment. Those verses are the only ones that would seem to favor cultural relevance but they are not supported anywhere in scripture, even within Paul's travels in Acts. Whenever he was met with resistance, Paul took his message elsewhere. He never sought to be relevant to the cultures he found because he recognized that it is the culture that was leading people to hell. I like what Mathew Henry says about these verses, maybe it will help:

    Verses 15-23 It is the glory of a minister to deny himself, that he may serve Christ and save souls. But when a minister gives up his right for the sake of the gospel, he does more than his charge and office demands. By preaching the gospel, freely, the apostle showed that he acted from principles of zeal and love, and thus enjoyed much comfort and hope in his soul. And though he looked on the ceremonial law as a yoke taken off by Christ, yet he submitted to it, that he might work upon the Jews, do away their prejudices, prevail with them to hear the gospel, and win them over to Christ. Though he would transgress no laws of Christ, to please any man, yet he would accommodate himself to all men, where he might do it lawfully, to gain some. Doing good was the study and business of his life; and, that he might reach this end, he did not stand on privileges. We must carefully watch against extremes, and against relying on any thing but trust in Christ alone. We must not allow errors or faults, so as to hurt others, or disgrace the gospel.

    When I speak of pastors seeking cultural relevance, it is in the context of Driscoll defending the Easter bunny, for example. We are meant to be a shining city on a hill because we were meant to stand out and be different. Today it becomes hard to tell the church and the world apart. Thanks again.

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