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Appreciating Mark Driscoll and Theo-Cultural Blindness

By BlackCalvinist | May 16, 2010

Last year, John MacArthur (whom I highly respect) blasted Mark Driscoll on some comments he’d made in a previous sermon on the Song of Solomon overseas.  I also found out that in late 08 into 09, Driscoll preached a new series and also did some ‘spring cleaning’ to his website for Mars Hill – including deleting the old sermons.

A few weeks ago, while staying up insanely late grading papers (I’m took off from work today to head to a dentist appointment in 6.5 hours of writing this…which means I got sleep for about 3-4 before I went there), I gave a listen to his sermon on Birth Control.

I think, sometimes, that some well-meaning folks have been misreading Driscoll.  Someone who visited Fourth Friday Fundamentals a while back stated that ‘if you knew what he had to deal with, you’d understand why he talks the way he talks. In Seattle, this isn’t considered ‘edgy’ – it’s normal’.  Listening to one of his (Driscoll’s) comments about how he went into a store and a lady confronted him and asked him why does he have five kids (at which point the lady broke into the overpopulation argument and the lack of food argument…both of which are false), hearing about how people frequently picket his church (mostly feminist groups and homosexual groups), death threats and the like, I understand the man quite a bit more now.

I *am* glad that he’s cleaned up his language over the years.  Earlier in the decade, some of the things coming from his mouth made it pretty impossible for me to recommend him as anything more than a Christian shock-jock.  I’m glad to say (from listening to some of his more recent sermons) that he’s matured a bit, specifically since speaking at the DG Conference on the very issue of language a couple of years ago.

Mark Driscoll isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea.  If you come from a micropresbyterian denomination where you hold strictly to the RPW, don’t do much interaction on social media and/or watch anything other than FoxNews and the History Channel, Mark Driscoll *might* appear worldly to you, since he does something your church tends not to do – interact with the culture, critique it from a biblical standpoint, confront worldliness and persistent sin directly and call it what it is without selling out the gospel (versus simply cursing the darkness from inside the citadel of light you inhabit).  If you are easily offended at someone actually showing passion and emotion in their preaching…. you probably don’t like John Piper. So you probably won’t like Driscoll either.  You probably won’t care for the music at his church either.

That’s okay.   No one’s making it mandatory for you to listen to him.  But I *do* see him attacking from a pastoral perspective, a lot of tough questions and he has a tendency to nail them head on biblically.

Oh wait – now you think he’s all ‘practical’ and not doctrinal. To those folks I’ll simply say….check his sermon archive on the Mars Hill website.  He does a good job of being both biblical and practical, as good preaching should be.

Anyway, that’s my present take on the issue. I can recommend Driscoll now, even while I don’t agree with everything he does at MHC.  If his preaching is reflective of the life of the church, then Driscoll’s church is a healthy church.

No, they aren’t consistently confessional.  No, they aren’t cessationists. No, their worship doesn’t look like 1647.  At the same time, they aren’t filled with false fire (aka happy clappy), doctrinally they are within the reformed tradition and you will definitely hear the gospel every week at this church. All these things are good.

I think we forget sometimes – church men in all eras make mistakes.  The thing is, we all don’t make (or aren’t prone to make) the same mistakes.  Think for a moment if Edwards or Dabney were alive. Would you support their owning of slaves ?  No, but a lot of ‘reformed’ folks have a tendency to show grace to these men by passing off their mistakes in these areas as blind spots, the men simply being ‘products of their time’.   Their works are still recommended, read and proliferated.  Yet, these men committed heinous sins by being engaged in American (key word) slavery.  A black man considered 3/5 of a person (versus Lev. 19:18) ?

What will people from future generations look back at this generation’s Christians and say “What in the WORLD were they thinking about when they did that ?”  People look at the RPW (at least the Exclusive Psalmody aspect of it) now and think that very same thing.  People look back at Geneva and wonder what convinced the city legislature that they had the authority to execute folk for blasphemy.

Just some thoughts.

Topics: blogwatching!, oooh! stuff to read!, Theological | 6 Comments »

6 Responses to “Appreciating Mark Driscoll and Theo-Cultural Blindness”

  1. Andrew Says:
    June 6th, 2010 at 3:46 am

    A well though-out and well written article brother. I will admit I do not consider myself a Driscoll fan, but reading this makes me rethink why I wouldn’t recommend him. Excellent points on Dabney and slaves too.

  2. Joel S Says:
    June 6th, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    (Just found your site from the PB)

    Interesting thoughts. I basically concur about Driscoll. Given that he has toned down things, listening to MacArthur and Piper, my respect has gone up some. And he clearly does care about doctrine (and preaches a lot longer than many would think). As he continues to teach the Bible and grow, I imagine that we can appreciate a lot of what he does, while still seeing that there are other things he could probably do better (as could we all).

  3. Chris Says:
    July 11th, 2010 at 7:29 am

    I love the work that Mark is doing in Seattle. But what does RPW stand for?

  4. BlackCalvinist Says:
    July 16th, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    RPW = Regulatory Principle of Worship

  5. C-LOS Says:
    July 20th, 2010 at 7:19 am

    Nice post. Makes me think of Driscoll in a better way. I don’t reccommend him but I still do sometimes. It’s like the already/not yet tension. haha.

  6. BlackCalvinist Says:
    July 24th, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    You stoopid, Carlos. LOL I actually DO understand what you mean, though.

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