The image of the Lord had been replaced by a mirror.” Jorge Luis Borges
Dee visiting Alaska (Deb, your turn!)
What is wrong with this picture?
A few years ago, prior to the advent of this blog, Deb and I began to discuss our concerns about the rather bizarre nature of some of the leaders in what is called the Neo-Calvinist movement. We approached one Christian leader and asked about the issues with both CJ Mahaney and Mark Driscoll. We were read the riot act. He listed for us all of the really important leaders in the American church that supported both of these guys. He then pointed to us. Implying that we were nobodies compared to this group, he queried, “What is wrong with this picture?”
Bad response. He didn’t know that we had both a backbone and the courage to put our thoughts to the test in the court of public opinion. So, we started this blog. What makes this statement seem all the more sad is that I actually think this guy believes that “Christian leaders” know more about “pastoring” than we pew sitters. But, as Christian blogging gets its mojo on, this stereotype is obviously in need of reevaluation.
Of course, TWW has been proven correct in its concerns, demonstrating, once again, that the little guy can possess more common sense than some Christian leaders. Many of our readers have given us thoughtful insights into the problems of both Mahaney and Driscoll. Conversely, instead of responding thoughtfully to the problems demonstrated by both Mahaney and Driscoll, the Calvinista crowd has had to go into overtime to figure out how to come to their defense. Frankly, they all are beginning to sound desperate, exhibiting their ineffectiveness in self-policing.
And guess who has been right all along? Those who have commented at this, and many other, blogs. The priesthood of the believer is alive and well and showing up all over the world. They also have more cojones than many of the "anointed" leaders who are supposed to be showing us how they exhibit their Christian manliness.
The Mark Driscoll Problem Grows Out of Control
A few years back, Mark Driscoll did some serious damage with his Song of Solomon sermon in Scotland. That sermon has been discussed in depth on this blog. Any self-perceptive individual would rethink through his shock jock approach to the Scripture. Here is the plain truth. Driscoll has NOT learned and, is, in fact, making progressively bigger and bigger blunders. Some of these mistakes, in our opinion, are beyond the pale.
Past documentation of issues which have been largely ignored by the Calvinistas
Mark Driscoll as the Role Model for Acts 29 Churches?
As many of our readers are aware, Driscoll is the de facto head of the “au courant” Acts 29 churches. His goal in this endeavor is to get churches together that share both a Reformed heritage and a missional desire.
Having attended the venerable Park Street Church in Boston, I am well aware of the importance of missions. This fine church gives 40% of its church budget to missions and emphasizes training for all church members on ongoing missions throughout the world. They believe that one can minister in culturally sensitive ways without watering down the Gospel of our Lord.
So, let’s see what Mark has to say about the missions emphasis of Acts 29 link.
“Third, we are Missional:
- We believe that our local churches must be faithful to the content of unchanging Biblical doctrine (Jude 3).
- We believe that our local churches must be faithful to the continually changing context of the culture(s) in which they minister (1 Corinthians 9:19-23).
- We believe that our mission is to bring people into church so that they can be trained to go out into their culture as effective missionaries.”
A Call to Acts 29 Churches to Confront the MD Issue
One might suspect that he would be an excellent role model. However, as is so often the case with this man, he speaks with forked tongue. Driscoll has caused an uproar in the UK with his decidedly culturally insensitive and insulting language.We call on member churches to confront this serious issue. You give money to this alliance and you bear some responsibility for the “missional” example of Driscoll. Do you really want to be represented by this blowhard? He has already set American/English church relationships back significantly. The American church is being judged harshly in light of this incident. Do you really want him to represent you in any other countries?
For those of you who want to see which churches are members of this group, go to this link and enter the state. If you have friends who attend these churches, please alert them to Driscoll debacle and encourage them to ask questions of their church leaders.
For example, In North Carolina, there are 13 churches that are members of this group. Six of them are within 25 minutes of our homes: Vintage 21, Vintage 21 Durham, Vision Church, Treasuring Christ Church, The Summit Church and Christ the King Church. You can be sure we will be talking about it, although we suspect that some of these churches are reading this blog.
MD Wreaks Havoc in the UK
There appears to be continuing fall-out in the UK from the Driscoll interview. TWW was pleased, yet disconcerted, to get the following comment from Mark Herwerdine. Please note what he says about pastors in the UK. We have some evidence that he knows what he is talking about. He also gives us some context to Driscoll’s insulting comments about “guys in gowns preaching to grandmas.”
“Hi American friends
I really appreciate such a thorough and thoughtful response to a controversy, which has a good many fellow pastors in the UK incensed and saddened.
Just a quick point re: gowns in UK churches – I’m a C of E ordinand-in-training, I’ve attended 5 CofE churches (4 evangelical, 1 very definitely liberal) since September. So far gown/vestment count = zero. I’ve seen a few dog collars but not as often as some would expect.I agree it is insulting a tradition MD doesn’t understand but more than tradition, many clergy do where dog collars and/or some form of vestment for good theological and practical reasons. Someone choosing to downplay their personal taste in fashion, covering it with a relatively plain vestment in order not to distract from word and sacrament – that I have a lot more respect for that than sporting trendy jeans, manly check shirts and the latest in middle-aged, sorry, young hip sports jacket.Keep up the good work”
American Followers of Driscoll Blame Everyone Else, Following in Driscoll’s Footsteps
Now, the following comment is an interesting contrast. The UK pastors are upset at Driscoll. American pastors seem to be upset at us!
“Driscoll has given a public interview and written a blogpost. The content of these should be discussed and dissected. At the same time, apologizing to an entire nation of Christians for the actions of another person is arrogant. It assumes that you are holy and all-knowing, having the right to pronounce that another person is in sin. If you think he needs to apologize, that is one thing, but apologizing for him has a feel about it that it seems like the authors of this site would want to avoid.”
Scott reiterated that I was arrogant because I decided to stick with my apology. He also said that I have no right to pronounce that another person is in sin. Note to Scott: What in the world do I do with all of the sins listed in the Bible? Are you saying that I can never say anyone has sinned? You do know that Driscoll, Mahaney and others often tell their people and others that they are sinning. Why can’t we?
Please note: Scott did not discuss the problems with Driscoll’s interview. He also did not acknowledge those pastors in England who were deeply hurt by Driscoll’s comment. America is entering a new era of post-evangelical Christianity. It is marked by “my way or the highway” interpretation of secondary doctrines. There is little concern for love and mercy. Grave damage has been done to the evangelical church in America and it seems that this authoritarianism is now being exported to the world.
The Justin Brierley Audios Clearly Expose the Problem With Driscoll
TWW highly recommends that you visit kinnon.tv. Bill Kinnon, the editor, did an excellent job dissecting what “really happened” with Driscoll's interview. On Friday, we linked to Driscoll’s explanation of the interview. In his post, he trashed talked the interviewer, Justin Brierley, calling him rude, etc. This time, however, Driscoll made a serious mistake. Mr. Brierley immediately released the audio, which covered the entire raw interview. And guess what? Driscoll was shown to be the emperor with no clothes. Even worse, MD continues to appear as a man who has some serious issues.
Here are some selections from Bill Kinnon’s post in which he reviewed the audio. Unless noted, all quotes are from the kinnon.tv post.
The UK Real Interview – Was it of the Undisciplined or the Undiscipled?
Driscoll Acts, Once Again, Like a Junior High Bully
”(Driscoll to Brierley)"You’re not being fair, you’re being sort of scandalous and being immature about the issues. You’re going for one or 2 pages in the book where we answer very common questions that Christians have and you’re trying to put a little shock around for the radio. And, as a pastor, I’m trying to answer the questions people have."
"(Kinnon’s response) I hear Mark responding like a bully, in rather condescending tone. He insults the interviewer rather than accepting the legitimacy of the question. Who exactly is disrespectful here? (This happens at approximately the 17:20 min. mark of the podcast.)"
"As the interview continues, I note that Mark tends to go on at length, rarely allowing the interviewer to get a word in edgewise."
Driscoll Tells a Whopper About the Infamous Ted Haggard Incident
"(Kinnon) In response to a question about Ted Haggard and this story, Mark claims in what can only be heard as rather bald-faced prevarication, that he never said anything about the Haggard situation."
TWW Note -Most of readers are well aware that we call ourselves glamorous blog queens in direct response to Driscoll’s allegation that wives of pastors often let themselves go, apparently casting the blame for Ted Haggard’s fall on his wife (who, btw, is a good looking woman). He “apologized” but his apologies ring increasingly hollow link. ( Add-3/8/12 According to Wikipedia: "When the Evangelical leader Ted Haggard left New Life Church in Colorado, Driscoll raised an uproar with the comment on his blog: "A wife who lets herself go and is not sexually available to her husband in the ways that the Song of Songs is so frank about is not responsible for her husband's sin, but she may not be helping him either." Driscoll later apologized for his statement.)"
Here is an important question. Driscoll is well aware of the outcry over his remarks which were covered by national media. It appears that he deliberately lied in the interview. If he is willing to lie about something that is well-known, one must question if he is willing to lie about other issues. Is this demonstrative of the character of a man who should be leading a church and a ministry. (3/9/12-Update-Driscoll claims that his statement had nothing to do with the Haggards.) "(Driscoll to Brierley)"I didn’t say anything about the Haggards, and I regret what happened in their marriage and I grieve for that woman." (At the 20:30 mark of the podcast)." Update 3/8/12-Driscoll claims that his statement had nothing to do with the Haggards yet many people believed that he did link to this incident. Was it a whopper or extremely poor wording? You be the judge.
Driscoll’s Blatant Disregard for His Wife
(Kinnon) “Justin finally directly asks Grace to respond at the 23 min. point. If anyone has disrespected Grace in this, it was Mark. He could have easily at any point in the first 18 min. of the interview said quite simply, 'Let me get Grace to respond to that.' (Note again that the actual raw interview begins at the 5 min. point of this podcast.)”
Driscoll Berates a Fellow Christian
“Mark goes on to berate Justin on Penal Substitutionary Atonement. Even when Justin is willing to say he believes in it — but that there are other orthodox ways of viewing the Cross. Mark insists Justin must commit solely to P.S.A. Driscoll is simply obnoxious on this point. Mark brags on his book that he has written on this topic. “
“At the 54.5 min. point in the podcast, the interchange goes like this, Mark: "But do you believe it" — "it" being penal substitutionary atonement. ”Justin responds, "Yes I do". Mark says, "You sound like a coward when you say it." Once again one wants to ask the question ‘Who’s being adversarial?’”
MD Contradicts Himself
“And in the closing comments, Mark, who claims in his whining blog post that it was an “adversarial and antagonistic” experience, says, "It was fun for me… I hope you recover."
Driscoll Needs to Step Down From the Pastorate
It appears to us that Brierley has more cojones than many Christian pastors and seminary leaders. He maintained his composure in the face of an unbelievable egotistical, controlling man. I, for one, am sorry that he had to witness such a spectacle but, as a reporter, it has brought him some attention.
I have a question for all of the Christian pastors, leaders, Acts 29 proponents, seminarians, etc. who are watching Driscoll continue to bring disgrace after disgrace to the gospel of Jesus Christ (if they can use the word gospel in every which way, so can I), what IS wrong with this picture? It is the sad opinion of TWW that Driscoll needs to make like Piper, step down and get his mouth and house in order. I also think that someone needs to replace CJ Mahaney as the “mentor” of Mark Driscoll. Such a relationship is akin to letting Bernie Madoff tend the register in the prison store.
Neo-Calvinists, your integrity is on the line here. The world is watching.
Lydia's Corner: Isaiah 6:1-7:25 2 Corinthians 11:16-33 Psalm 54:1-7 Proverbs 23:1-3