I have been very cautious with the entire Mark Driscoll thing. It’s exploded within Christian blogosphere, especially recently with the report in public light of Driscoll’s graphic Scotland messages.
I have prayed for Mark Driscoll since this whole event has been picking up and was sad to read of the Scotland message Driscoll gave.
I hope that given the time lapse (though it is short), cooler heads would avail and my entry would be read without knee-jerk emotionally driven comments that go back and forth where there is more heat than light.
From seeing the comments all over the blogosphere in defense of Driscoll, some of the defense offered by his supporters makes me worry, since some of these defenses make excuses for Mark Driscoll’s conduct or give him immunity from being critiqued on the basis that he is a Pastor (or Elder). Or worst, the defense of Driscoll then goes on the offense, questioning the motive of those who raise the concern of Mark Dricsoll’s behavior.
Over at Frank Turk’s blog, a commentator name
makes this good observation.
Forgive me for jumping in, but given that I’ve just been having some helpful conversations with my husband about the role of church discipline in the body, I couldn’t help think this:
Let’s remove the pastor element for a minute. Let’s suppose that Mark is just a regular guy at his church. He’s a member, There is a sufficient fruit in his life to lead everyone to believe he’s regenerate. He just happens to have a pretty loud speaking voice, and he’s really popular.
And another member of the church overhears him making just one of the remarks he’s made while he’s out in the parking lot after Sunday service. So the man that overhears him takes him out to lunch and mentions that he heard it and uses Scripture to lovingly show him the “delta” between what God says and what he says.
And Mark says “yeah, I have a problem with my mouth. I’m working on that.”
And his friend accepts that as repentance and so they both go home.
Fast forward to the very next week, and the same stuff happens. In fact, this time, he’s louder and it’s worse – more varied, there are parts and procedures described, all with the requisite laughter from his buddies.
So his friend does the same thing. Takes him to lunch, but this time, after exhorting him with Scripture says “Brother, not only is this sin, but now you’re pulling your friends into it and causing them to sin. You’re really crusing for the millstone necklace treatment if you keep it up!”
And this time, Mark doesn’t really say anything, other than “wow, you’re really a good guy and I respect you a lot.”
And he keeps doing it. Week, after week, after week.
What reason would this friend not have to immediately go to the elders of their church, and if the elders are the ones who take him out to lunch, and the same thing happens, to not then follow up with full church discipline?
Now imagine Mark’s not just any guy at the church. He’s the guy, charged by God to lead all the others guys in imitating him as he imitates Christ.
Regular guy in sin pattern that demonstrates an increasing, not decreasing, trajectory = discipline
But pastor in sin pattern that demonstrates an increasing, not decreasing, trajectory – no discpline needed, just prayer and love???
I think her point is a powerful one, and leaves me convicted. Being a young man myself who desire to enter the ministry, the concern that John MacArthur and others bring is very relevant. Holiness is very important in the lives of the minister, even young minister. Which is why I prayed for Driscoll, and as a result of it, pray for myself and my sanctification too.
I’m sure there are Driscoll supporters that has gone through what one supporter felt, which he articulated so honestly. I share this, because I think what he has to say in his open honesty is the attitude and dilemma Driscoll supporters should be expressing, not some of the things I have seen the last few weeks:
I hate this whole situation. It just frustrates me and breaks my heart. Because I love MD. As a teacher of Scripture and a proponent of the Gospel, he’s challenged me in so many ways. I wish I had an ounce of the passion he does.
But there’s no denying his greatest flaws are clouding and compromising his work. There’s just no getting around it. And this strikes me twice as hard, because I share these same weaknesses and wrestle with these same issues. As his sin is being here publicly dissected, I find myself naked and feeling shame.
When JMac started his four-part callout of Driscoll’s sin (deny if you will, brothers, but this is what it is), I was defensive and irritated. Now I’m just sad. Because there’s no Biblical answer i can give except, Dr. Mac is right. Phil is right (and gracious, was his sermon good). All the same, it makes me sad for my brother Mark and for myself.
“Blameless” is something I fear I’ll never be, Cent. And it stinks on toast, because I feel God’s call into ministry, and I’m afraid I’ll always disqualify myself.
I think I’m about done reading about all of this. Any more would just be wallowing. I do sincerely want to thank you all for your comments and exhortation. Count me as one person who’s really been given pause, and has been called to greater repentance for it.
I’m praying for Mark, because I love him, and I am eager to see him grow in Spirit and power so that he can continue to advance the Kingdom. I don’t think all of you share that feeling, but for those of you who do, I urge you to continue to speak boldly about this issue, but to love boldly also.
That’s enough of my thoughts for now. I pray that this would be constructive rather than tearing down.