Thursday, September 27, 2007

CT on Mark Driscoll

I have never met Mark Driscoll but much of what I know about him I appreciate. How can you not like a guy who goes to Seattle and plants a church that is rock-solid on the Gospel? Or someone who refuses to compromise on biblical manhood and womanhood in that context? Or someone who is unashamedly reformed in his understanding of how the Gospel works but doesn't put it on his calling card? Or someone who has helped motivate and equip hundreds of young pastors to plant churches around the world?

I have heard the criticisms, and read some of the crudeness that has come from his pen. I would never try to justify vularity, no matter what the source. But I have also heard of Driscoll's repentance, and read some of his humble expressions of it. Dr. Danny Akin and Southeastern Seminary took some heat for having Driscoll on campus recently at the Convergent Conference. But, as he does so well, Driscoll poked some of those critics in the eye by pointing out that the North Carolina Baptist Convention has invited Doug Pagitt to speak at a church leaders' conference October 16. [EDIT: I have been informed that this invitation has been withdrawn by the BSCNC]

The September issue of Christianity Today has a good article on Driscoll ("Pastor Provocateur") by Collin Hansen. It's worth reading. Here are a couple of the better quotes.
Jennifer McKinney, director of the women's studies program at Seattle Pacific University, says she started teaching about the sociology of gender in part because of issues raised at nearby Mars Hill. She notices that many female students who attend Mars Hill abandon career ambitions as social workers or youth pastors. Instead, they prepare to become wives and mothers.

"I can't say that folks who go to this church are not active, thinking beings," McKinney says. "But the perception on campus is that these women completely change."
Don't you just love it! I can't say that Professor McKinney is a narrow-minded feminist but the perception is that she thinks women who esteem the roles of wife and mother are idiots. You have to appreciate a church and ministry that makes a self-styled Christian university nervous because of the transformation of lives.

Here is Driscoll's very Driscollesque summary of the reformed faith:
"People suck, and God saves us from ourselves."
Finally, Driscoll on the relationship between Fundamentalism and the Emergent Church:
"Fundamentalism is really losing the war, and I think it is in part responsible for the rise of what we know as the more liberal end of the emerging church," Driscoll says. "Because a lot of what is fueling the left end of the emerging church is fatigue with hardcore fundamentalism that throws rocks at culture. But culture is the house that people live in, and it just seems really mean to keep throwing rocks at somebody's house."
Read the article and pray for Mark Driscoll.


Timmy Brister said...


I think Collin did a fine job with the Driscoll interview, and indeed, it was a bold (and I would add appropriate) move of Dr. Akin to have him and Stetzer speak to the issue of the emergent church movement. I think some people have dismissed Driscoll because of the unfortunate moniker that has been assigned to him, but truth be told, Driscoll is a genius and a gift to the North American church.

But expect to get the same treatment as Piper did at DGCON last year and Akin did this year. There is the idea that if you like someone, you must agree with everything they say and do. Piper clearly had disagreements with Driscoll, as do I. But the disagreements are very minor. It is the spirit of fundamentalism to make such minor disagreements major and dismiss him altogether. If we were to take the approach that many having taken with Driscoll, namely that of having to like him in all aspects, we would never see partnerships in the gospel and cooperation for the Great Commission.

Driscoll has publicly expressed his appreciation for the SBC and shared his anticipation of the Convergent Conference. I for one think it is time that the SBC express its appreciation for Driscoll and Acts 29 who are taking a stand (contending) for the gospel and passionately communicating it (contextualizng) to reach our world for Christ.

Thank you for speaking to this. It would be great to see Founders develop meaningful ties with Acts 29 and The Resurgence.

David Wooten said...


I just returned from the acts29network church planting bootcamp. I hope that we will get deliberate and aggressive about planting God-glorifying, Gospel-centered, biblical, healthy, reformed Baptist churches. Let's continue to work towards that.

David Wooten

Tom said...


Good thoughts. I believe that Driscoll has much to teach us and we should be willing to learn. That is not a wholesale endorsement, but a recognition that we are not above being instructed by those who might be regarded as vastly different from us.


I agree wholeheartedly! I have read some of the material from the boot camp and was impressed. I am really interested in your reflections on your experience.

HarryJ said...


I am new to the blogosphere this year, but have done my share of reading of reformed blogs this past six months. I like yours very much along with Monergism, James White, Steve Camp, Fide-O and a few others. Thank you for posts here, they are always a blessing to me.

I guess that is why I was surprised to see your latest article endorsing the ministry of Mark Driscoll. I have listened to a number of his podcasts and sermons these past few months and don't see a reformed brother at all who is rock solid on teh gospel. Mark seems more focused on numbers than anything else. Almost every sermon mentions them.

Be that as it may, there are theological issues here you may not be aware of. Did you know that Mark denies limited atonement and thus total depravity as well. He believes in free will and an Arminian view of evangelism. He recently said, "evangelism is the art of subversion." That is not a reformed view of sovereign grace in evangelism at all.

He also places much emphasis on technique and methods and the such rather than the sovereignty of God in salvation. Though the cultures are different, the nature of the people in Seattle are no different than the nature of people where i live (which is a more Bible belt country setting community).

I, like you, believe that we can learn much from people that are not like us. But Mark continues to show no respect for the pulpit when he gets up to speak. His crude humor and speech continues on brother without repentance and I have even heard him use that humor directed to the Lord Himself.

That is not reformed or is it honoring to Christ. John MacArthur calls Marks kind of faith a "grunge Christianity" and had some very good insights on Mark's postmodern approach to ministry. Dr. MacArthur was most concerned about sanctification in Mark's views as well. Certainly the reformers had a high view of God, the Scriptures, holiness, etc. and did not act in such childish ways when in the pulpit.

Please know that I appreciate you very much and really enjoy your ministry; but this article of yours seemed very imbalanced and very much "a wholesale endorsement of Mark." If it wasn't, why didn't you include some of the doctrinal differences and concerns that anyone reformed would truly have about someone like Mark? Even his crude speech was quickly glossed over in your review of him.

Lastly, I know tha men like Piper and Carson have been to Mark's church and work with him in conferences; and that some people use those names to justify Mark's ministry. I have had friends say to me, "well if Piper and Carson like him who are you not to like Mark and his ministry?"

I hope that many in the reformed camp won't say, "Well if Tom Ascol likes Mark, who are we not to like him and support his ministry as well?"

I would be interested in your feedback and please know that I mean no offense to you personally in them.

In the shadow of the cross,

Tom said...


Thanks for your comments and your kind words. I am not offended at all, and appreciate your observations and questions. I hope you will always feel free to raise such issues here. Doing so is good for all of us.

First, I did not intend to give a "wholesale endorsement of Mark." After reading that this is how you took my post, I went back and reread it and I don't think that judgment is quite fair. In fact, you might have missed my response to Timmy in this thread where I said that my perspective "is not a wholesale endorsement." If you think that I was making an unqualified commendation of him and his ministry, then I can see why you would be concerned.

Granted, I did not criticize his views or practices in any specific way, but that was not the point of the post. I was primarily concerned to direct folks to Hansen's article.

You may well know things about Driscoll's theology that I do not. Evidently John MacArthur does not know them either, because he has written that Driscoll's "soteriology is exactly right." That has been my own perspective, as well.

You have obviously listened to much more of his preaching and teaching than I have and so I by no means want to discount your expressed concerns. But, as I wrote, "much of what I know about him, I appreciate."

Thanks, again, for your comments. Press on.


Thomas said...

He is yet another example. Calvinits, particularly Baptist Calvinists, will be supported here regardless of whatever else they may believe or do which is not scriptural. Because Mark Driscoll purports to be a Calvinist, he gets a pass on this website for the other things he does and supports which are obviously improper and not scriptural.

Some, but not all, are fooled by this website.

Tom said...

Dear Thomas:

Are you becoming a drive-by commenter? You don't have to hide behind anonymity here. We are, for the most part, a rather civil bunch and would be willing to dialogue with you, if you're interested.

Puritan said...

Not much of a repentance! Seen as this sermon of his
which is full of lewd jokes and blasphemy from start to finish, (including joking about punching Jesus in the face)to keep his fans entertained, is still made available.
Let's be honest if Rick Warren came out with a tiny fraction of the lewdness that Driscoll does, the Reformed Camp would not be turning a blind eye to his sin.

Ephesians 5:3-4: “But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; 4 neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.”

Ephesians 5:12 “For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret.”

Colossians 3:8 “But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth.”

Matthew 12:34 “Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”

James 1: 21-22: "Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.
22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves."

James 1: 26-27: "If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless. 27 Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world."

Rom 1:32 "who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them."

cyd said...

Dear Tom,

I too was terribly surprised to see what appears to be your endorsement of Driscoll; I appreciate the clarification
of your position here in this thread. Thank you!

I agree with both Harryj and Puritan's accurate assessments of Mark. I have listened to too many of his sermons. His preaching never leaves my heart enflamed with more love for the Lord Jesus or awed by a glimpse of His glory; instead, I often find my toes curling at embarrassing
compromises, grieving at the exaltation of man.

There is something amiss when a Reformed Pastor offers this as a definition of the faith:

"People s---, and God saves us from ourselves."

Oh dear.


Timmy Brister said...

Seen as this sermon of his
which is full of lewd jokes and blasphemy from start to finish, (including joking about punching Jesus in the face)to keep his fans entertained, is still made available.


Who was Driscoll referring to when he was "joking about punching Jesus in the face?" He was talking about those who are faking their Christian lives because they have interpreted the humanity of Jesus as a "superman."

That is hardly saying that Driscoll was referring to punching Jesus in the face. In fact, the comment was made in regard to others.

I am sure that somewhere in that long list of quotes that there is something in there about telling the truth (not lying).

Worship Leader Ron said...


Ephesians 2:1-5 says:

1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature[a] and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.

That sounds like "People s---, and God saves us from ourselves" to me. That sounds like a good definition of the faith. We can debate whether he should use the word "suck" or not, and whether that is a pulpit worthy word (I wouldn't dare use it when leading a worship service), but it is seems like a pretty accurate assesment to me.

Worship Leader Ron said...

The BP article is great. And I'm looking foreward to listening to the audio of the conference. Thanks for this post, Tom.

Timmy Brister said...

It should be noted that one of the seven books Crossway is going to publish by Mark Driscoll is set to come out in February 2008. It carries the same title "Puritan" mentioned in that sermon - Vintage Jesus.

Now, if Driscoll is teaching blasphemy, why don't these leading Reformed scholars know about it? Consider their endorsements of Driscoll's book:

J.I. Packer:
"This book reveals Mark Driscoll as a highly powerful, colorful, down-to-earth catechist, targeting teens and twenty-somethings with the old, old story told in modern street-cred style. And professor Breshears ballasts a sometimes lurid but consistently vivid presentation of basic truth about the Lord Jesus Christ."

Wayne Grudem:
"Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshears combine profound understanding of modern culture with weighty Christian doctrine that is faithful to the Bible, and it’s written in such an interesting style that it’s hard to put down. I strongly recommend it!"

Bruce Ware:
"Vintage Jesus offers a fresh, engaging, and insightful discussion of some of the oldest and most crucial truths about Jesus Christ that constitute the very core of the gospel itself. Many times as I read, my heart leapt for joy, both for the wonder and brilliance of the truths being developed, but also because Driscoll and Breshears uphold cherished realities that others in our day, sadly, despise and discard. If you think that you already know Jesus, think again. This book will open the eyes of many who have yet to see the radical nature of Jesus’ life and teaching. For the spread of the gospel and the advancement of the kingdom, I can only hope many will read this book and embrace Jesus as the true Lord, God, Savior, and King that he is."

Perhaps some of the Driscoll critics need to inform the writers of Reformed Systematic Theologies (Grudem), defenders of Reformed Orthodoxy (Ware), and most respected authors (Packer) of Driscoll's "blasphemy." And then, be sure to forward that on to Tim Keller and D.A. Carson too, since they are partnered with Driscoll in the Gospel Coalition.

If you personally do not like Driscoll, fine. But he is far from being a heretic or false teacher. He may communicate the gospel differently than you, but maybe that is because he is living in a different context.

Bryan said...


Consider me in the camp of those who "think Driscoll has a lot to offer, though I don't give a wholesale endorsement." Somewhere along the way, saying you appreciate things about people has come to mean "I think everything he/she does/says is Gospel."

I think Driscoll can teach us great things about being "missional" (whoops, there's that buzzword). I also think some of his language is more crude than it needs to be. I also think that "garbage" and "rubbish" aren't the best translation of Paul in Phil 3.8 (that's not as non-sequitur as it may seem). The same way that I like a lot of things Calvin did, but not all, and things that Wesley did, but I certainly disagree with him on many things.

BTW, this is Bryan from the discussion at SBTS last thursday. They guy from WV. It was great hanging out with you and the other guys, and being able to talk frankly about things. Thank you so much!


Bryan said...

And by "thursday" I meant "wednesday," obviously.

irreverend fox said...

by the way some of our reformed family speaks of Driscoll...I don't think Luther would have stood a chance in our ranks.

Stephen Newell said...

Actually, bro, sometimes I wonder if Jesus himself would have a chance.

Timmy, remind me not to get on your bad side. I could feel the thunder from all the way over here. Almost loud enough to make the Deaf hearing again. Keep speaking the truth in love, dude. ;-)

HarryJ said...

Well this discussion has gotten interesting hasn't it?

It is dangerous to appeal to the endorsements of men when trying to make your case. I.e. Packer, though a respected man throughout the years, you may recall as a leading endorser of ECT, Evangelicals and Catholics Together. R.C. Sproul said publicly in an interview about Packer because of his waffling on justification by faith concerning Catholics, that on that issue he would have to treat him "as a nonbeliever."

Bruce Ware doesn't surprise me here, I read a few months ago where he is a four point Arminian and on the atonement is more Amyraldian.

Driscoll ministered earlier this year at a pastors conference in Texas sharing the platform with well known heretic and Sabellianist, T.D. Jakes.

He also has partnered with Robert Schuller on a few occasions as well--also one who has rejected the biblical gospel.

Just last week at the SEBTS conference (you can listen to the mp3's online for free) Driscoll praised Peter Kreeft, protestant who defected to Catholicism some years ago and author of the heretical book, "The Ecumenical Jihad." Have you read that book? It is sheer apostasy.

I didn't see you list those authors who would gladly endorse Driscoll too.

I found it interesting that you consider Mark to be a genius. Under what criteria do you base your claim? Sounds like you are more a fan than a discerning reader of Mark. I am that way too on certain--all logic just goes by the wayside. I understand.

Here is the sad thing about Driscoll, he says he is reformed, but he is not. He says he is repentant about his speech and crude stories, but he keeps on week to week enjoying the scatological humor. Remember, it was Mark who said the greatest lesson he ever had in homiletics was watching Chris Rock--that is his model.

Driscoll's phrase, "people suck..." is not biblical at all. People don't just suck do they... Homework sucks; paying taxes suck; getting stuck in rush hour traffic sucks; loosing your car keys sucks. People are sinful to the core; we call it totally depraved. That's quite different than sucks. And biblically, God didn't save us from ourselves brother, He saved us from Himself.

I would just be cautious with any man who treats the pulpit with such a cavalier attitude as Driscoll does. If he is that vulgar publicly, can you imagine what is actually said privately?

(btw, both Phil Johnson and Steve Camp have written some excellent articles on Mark and his ministry.)

In His grace,

HarryJ said...

One other thing I almost forgot.

I believe it was one of the contributors at Phil Johnson's blog who made tis observation: IMOW, what if Driscoll applied his same standard of course humor and crude stories to his wife? What if any of us made jokes about his wife in his presence using four letter words, rude humor, and degrading stories? Would he still consider it funny and entertaining to do so

But yet from the pulpit he can do so about the Lord and others and people think he's cool and he justifies it because he lives in Seattle.

I thought that was an excellent point Timmy.

Worship Leader Ron said...

Timmy said:

"But expect to get the same treatment as Piper did at DGCON last year and Akin did this year. There is the idea that if you like someone, you must agree with everything they say and do. Piper clearly had disagreements with Driscoll, as do I. But the disagreements are very minor. It is the spirit of fundamentalism to make such minor disagreements major and dismiss him altogether."

Harry, I don't know if you read this part of timmy's 1st post or Tom's similar thought, but it doesn't appear to me that Timmy is doing anything but defending the man from being called a heretic. He says that he doesn't agree with everything he does or says. Why isn't that enough?

This is an interesting thread. It is so interesting to me that you would see no Kingdom value in the life and ministry of Mark Driscoll? Do you not believe that the conversions being realized and the spread of the truth of salvation through Christ alone is not a good developement in Seattle? I find it interesting that there's not a further criticism of all the others on the conference schedule that you attack Driscoll for being on, such as Ed Young, Sr. (former SBC president) Ed Young, Jr. much less the sponsors of the Schuller conference like Judson Press or Fuller theological seminary. When your church decides to take pics for your next church directory will you stand in business meeting and protest using Olan Mills because they showed up at a conference that the Schuller's ran? I just don't understand why you must discount him because of this.

Is it impossible that the presence of Mark Driscoll is being used by God for his glory and the coming of his Kingdom even at these conferences, standing up for the truth of scripture and the virgin birth and many other important doctrines of the faith like the TRINITY right next to men like Jakes? You mentioned that schuller doesn't teach the "biblical gospel." I am glad that others are willing to go to some of these places that appearently YOU wouldn't go in order to teach the biblical gospel.

It is not as though Driscoll is leading his church to allow universalists as members or unitarians to the office of elder. Let's be clear here. The man spoke at a conference with him, he's not endorsing or responsible for the sin or disobedience or ignorance of any other man outside the souls in his charge as a shepherd.

You say at the end of your comment that we should be "cautious with any man" who would be cavalier in the pulpit. I say be cautious with every man. "Tests the spirits" is in order always. I find no admonition in the bible to disreguard and vilify one who believes in Christ alone for salvation because they hang around the wrong people. It seems that the pharisees complained about that with christ as well.

There is another point that I would like to address. You called Dr. Bruce Ware a 4 point arminian. I assure you that he is not, having heard his convictions and teaching in class. There is a discussion between He and Dr. Piper at where they discuss the fact that it is possible that he can be accurately called a 4 point CALVINIST. The discussion of the "L" is intriguing and I suggest you download it before you accuse him of being a 4 point arminian.

Lastly I would like to point out that "People suck and God saves us from ourselves" is obviously hyperbole. I am a music minister and I wonder if you ever protested the use of the song "Love lifted me" because it's not a point by point complete and exhaustive and true statement of salvation? When (and it's rare) my congregation sings this song, I am careful to explain the truth and admit that this hymn is an expression of the greatness and magnitude of God's love lifting us from our sin through Jesus Christ's atoning work on the cross. But we have many songs that aren't exact representations of complete biblical soteriology but we use them all the time. It is true that the bible teaches that we are saved from God's righteous and just condemnation through Christ, but we are also saved from ourselves unless you are a hypercalvinist who believes that we
are not responsible for our own sin AND disreguard Ephesians 2:1-5 above that says that we were objects of wrath because we were disobedient and following our evil desires. Have you ever said, "JESUS DIED FOR YOUR SINS?" How accurate and complete and understanding is that. It is accurate, but not complete.

My point is that you can take any one sentance summary and it will always be lacking something. Remember this is the guy who pointed out that "GOD HATES YOU" which many critics took by itself to claim that Driscoll doesn't teach that God loves you either.

Let's all seek to tell the truth with as much completeness as we can and to thank God for the many imperfect saints he uses everyday to teach and proclaim the good news that Jesus Christ is Lord.

Timmy Brister said...

HarryJ said,

Bruce Ware doesn't surprise me here, I read a few months ago where he is a four point Arminian and on the atonement is more Amyraldian.

So do you have a problem cooperating with someone who is not a five-point Calvinist? Should we discount a brother's scholarship if he doesn't align with us on limited atonement?

HarryJ, your comments here are reflective of much what I see wrong in Reformed brothers, yes, even in Founders. There are so many of us who are more concerned with counting points than winning souls. So long as the Reformed camp continues to draw the lines of orthodoxy rigidly around themselves, we will continue to be viewed as ungracious fundamentalists (who happen to be wearing cool Calvinist t-shirts).

Fortunately, there are many leaders in the Reformed camp who refuse to let voices like yours be dominant in evangelicalism and the SBC. Putting my cards on the table, I unapologetically join their ranks.

I am not as much a fan of Driscoll as I am of God's saving and sanctifying grace. I have seen that grace in Driscoll's life and how he continues to grow in it. Perhaps the reason why I am not the discerning reader that I ought to be is because I am not keeping a record book of other people's sins; rather, I pray in hope, believing that God will continue to work in them both to will and to do according to His good pleasure. Let me encourage you pray for Driscoll, and when you think of it, pray for me as well. Thanks.

Brad Williams said...


Many have raised concerns about Mark Driscoll's potty mouth, and you can put me in that category as well.

But brother, if you are going to say that Bruce Ware is a "4 point Arminian," you are going to have to provide some documentation for that. I am wondering if you meant to say that he is a "4 point Calvinist," because to say that he is a 4 point Arminian and then add that he holds an Amyraldian view of the atonement doesn't make any sense.

As to the "guilt by association" stuff, that might be legitimate if it weren't for the piles of documentation that demonstrate that Driscoll does not hold to a heretical view of salvation like Schuller, nor is he a modalist like TD Jakes is supposed to be.

Finally, to accuse someone of being a "fan" and not a discerning reader is just poor form. "I think you're just a Steve Camp fan, so that's why you are so anti-Driscoll." I mean, is that helpful at all? I may be saying this simply because I am a Timmy Brister fan, though. I met him once at a conference at Southern. He seemed discerning enough then.

SJ Camp said...
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SJ Camp said...

Even when I'm not posting on something about Driscoll my name gets thrust into the middle of things :-). My sincere apologies brother.

To clear up a few things in this discussion so far.

1. I, like Tom, have not met Mark at this point (hope to in the very near future). I have read everything he has written in book, blog and listened to many months of podcasts and online conference messages. I have also spoken to at length a few of Mark's friends in ministry and have enjoyed those conversations greatly. IOW, I am well acquainted with Mark and his ministry.

2. I also like somethings about Mark's ministry and pray for him weekly (I'll have to work up to daily--not there yet :-)).

3. But I do have some concerns as well. The Schuller, Jakes association is problematic. When anyone chooses to partner publicly in ministry with known heretics in Bible conferences designed to instruct other pastors in local church ministry, then they must answer for that affiliation.

Could imagine Piper having out Jakes as one of his speakers at a DG conference? It would never happen. Why? Because when there are 3 or 4 speakers on the same platform, sharing the same pulpit, in the same setting, that perception is real that each of those speakers embrace each others ministry. That is why I respect greatly Dr. Al Mohler for pulling out of a very well known conference last year because he could not be associated with some of the speakers there under any circumstances. Don't be naive on this gentlemen - it is critically important who we partner with in ministry.

And to clear up any ambiguity, I did write to Ed Young Jr. and Sr. about this and included them on my blog post as well; AND exchanging a few very good and forthright emails with Frank Page addressing this matter. Any SBC pastor and their church that hosts a known heretic like T.D. Jakes who worships a different god than the God of the Bible is very serious and should not be tolerated.

With all humility, let me ask you men here: did any of you write these men and address this issue about Jakes at the CCC conference? Why didn't you? In that setting, Driscoll should have had the "ecclesiasticals", biblical fortitude, and by the fear of the Lord call Jakes publicly to repentance. Sadly, he did not. Don't talk to me about courage in ministry when that kind of thing is tolerated. The audience is not sovereign...

4. I don't know if HarryJ is "a fan" - but I do appreciate his thoughts here (and thanks Harry for stopping by COT sometimes).

5. Timmy and Worship Leader Ron: If you are willing to give Mark a tremendous amount of grace both doctrinally, speech, and pulpit demeanor, I would think it would be just as kind to extend that same leniency of grace in sanctification to HarryJ as well. Why not cover his issues with the same charity you do Mark's?

6. Driscoll says he is reformed, but wouldn't pass the test here or among most reformed. That is not a slam against him; but he should not take the moniker if he can't wear the doctrine.

7. Mark IS obsessed with numbers. Every time he speaks he will tell how many are coming due to what he was preaching about. I mean look at his recent self-aggrandized promotion for his own book "Vintage Jesus." He's boasting of hoping to sell 50,000 copies of his book to make it on the NY Times best selling list... Oh brother. Listen, 50K is not bad in today's publishing world; but nothing to get pumped up about. Numbers IS Mark's justification for everything he does.

8. The issue here is not who endorses Mark's latest book; or if Bruce Ware is a 4 point Arminian or a 4 point Calvinist (R.C. Sproul calls all 4 point Calvinists, Arminians :-)). The issue is what it is for all of us, does Mark's theology, ministry, and practice as a pastor supported by the Word of God? If so, embrace him; if not, reject him.

Measure what anyone does by the standard of God's Word; not by the culture; not by shock jock approaches to theology ("people suck..." etc. - I did High School once too - Mark should graduate and move on); not by who can say what four letter word and get away with it in the pulpit; not by does your city have more of a certain kind of pet than Christians... which means absolutely nothing. [BTW, in Nashville, I think we have more ants than Christians - it's a really tough place to minister here :-).] See what I mean.

I hope this helps a bit in this discussion. Now, on to some sporting events for my teenage kids.

Tom, I love you man and always appreciate you and what you write. I'm going to Seattle in a week. Meet me out there and maybe we can both have coffee with Mark. Sounds fun... What do you say?

Grace and peace,
2 Cor. 4:5-7

Lin said...

On his blog, Resurgence, Driscoll wrote some suggestions for pastors. Some of those suggestions ended up indirectly blaming the pastors wife for infidelities or lust.

Concerning his own temptations, Driscoll writes, “thankfully I was married to a beautiful woman.” He continues, “Most pastors I know do not have satisfying, free, sexual conversations and liberties with their wives. . . . I will lean over the plate and take one for the team on this. It is not uncommon to meet pastors’ wives who really let themselves go; they sometimes feel that because their husband is a pastor, he is therefore trapped into fidelity, which gives them for laziness. 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.”

I certainly hope that Mrs. Driscoll is never disfigured in an accident or becomes another Terry Schiavo.

This was the most immature, stupid thing a 'pastor' could write about women.

I have seen many beautiful stately old women caring for their old, drooling, bald, invalid husbands.

Seriously, this man is not mature enough for me to listen to.

Timmy Brister said...


I was wondering what took you so long to jump on Driscoll. You've been a little slow to arrive on this thread. I must say, you're Driscoll credentials are quite impressive. You are way more a fan of him than me. :)

While I think I understand your argument of sharing the same stage as false teachers, the guilt-by-association fallacy is in order here. A question I do have is whether Driscoll invited Jakes or did Jakes (or a third party) invite Driscoll? I would agree with you, that if Driscoll invited Schuller or Jakes to preach a Resurgence Conference, Mars Hill, etc., that would be an egregious error.

But if Driscoll spoke on the same stage with Jakes, and Akin shared the same stage as Driscoll, then we must hold Dr. Akin accountable too, since he is in that "association" (let alone John Piper, D.A. Carson, Tim Keller, etc. - they all need to be held accountable for their undiscerning dealings with the immature minister from Seattle). Finally, I would encourage you to hurry quick bang down the doors of Crossway before those seven books by Driscoll hit the printing press.

Speaking of your call for Driscoll to grow up and mature, this, my friend, is yesterday's news. For years now Driscoll has been changing how he handles himself and continues to fail, confess, repent, and grow. If the attitude and tenor in which I blogged two years ago were before the critique of the Reformed watchdogs, I surely would be in worse trouble than he.


First, let me say thanks for reading my blog. I am glad that you find my content worthy of reproducing (though attribution would be courteous).

Now to Driscoll. The quote to which you refer was made to pastors after the Ted Haggard debaucle. What you did not share is that Driscoll shortly afterwards apologized for what he wrote and stated that it was inappropriate and wrong for him to say that. For those interested, here's the link:

Man, this thread is amazing to me. First Driscoll is accused of saying that he wanted to punch Jesus in the face, an out and out lie (listen to the sermon). Furthermore, a quote is given out of context, not giving the full story. Finally, Driscoll's past (some of it a decade old) is brought up against him to present him in the worst possible light. Good grief. This is getting old.

SJ Camp said...

I like you. You're a good man. And I greatly appreciate your heart for ministry as you have dedicated on your blog.

A few thoughts:

1. Ed Young Jr. hosted the CCC conference at his church; he extended the invitations; they all accepted; and Driscoll still should not have shown up OR he should have called Jakes to repentance.

I have been in that situation many times in my 29 years of ministry and have either turned down engagements (as Dr. Mohler did) or have had to call men to repentance publicly as well. But to accept that invitation is to partner with those on that platform brother - and it is wrong. Could imagine Mohler, Dever, MacArthur, Alexander, Piper, etc. partnering with Jakes at any conference? No way. Mark could have made an incredible statement for his admirable dedication for the truth by refusing to go and letting the body of Christ know why. But instead, it not only reinforced in Ed Young's mind that this is good and acceptable, reinforced to the few thousand pastors attending that Driscoll and Jakes are supportive of each other's ministry; reinforced in Jakes mind that he is to be accepted as orthodox by greater evangelicalism; and it once again reinforced in my mind that there's never been an large audience that Mark didn't love and will justify to be in front of.

Understand something here Timmy which I know you already know: we're not talking about working with a brother in Christ from a different denomination or who we may disagree with on secondary or tertiary issues. We're talking about a nonbeliever, a heretic, that worships a different god than the God of the Bible, preaches a different gospel than the gospel of Jesus Christ, and functions in a different doctrinal universe than the doctrine of Scripture alone. At no time in church history has anyone who has denied the Trinity ever been considered orthodox and allowed to function in a place of authority as a genuine representative of the Lord Jesus Christ---until now.

2. I don't share yesterday's news about anyone. I stay current. And the issues surrounding his scatological speech, anecdotes, stories and his views on limited atonement, Peter Kreeft, etc. are very recent.

3. Once again, I do like many aspects of Mark's ministry as I have said many times before. So I am not part of the "jump on Mark" bandwagon.

4. May I ask you a question": Mark defined evangelism (just last week) as "the art of subversion." Do you agree with that? Can you defend or even define it biblically? And if so, where? (btw, I spoke firsthand to some who were there and know Mark and they said even they had to do a double take when he said that have absolutely no idea what he is talking about.

Here is evangelism biblically: "I sought to know nothing among you save Jesus Christ and Him crucified." What - no swearing; no scatological speech; no crude stories; no pushing the Christian envelop to stir up controversy that the cross does not; no contextualization of the message; etc.? In a wicked city such as Corinth what was Paul's strategery: to preach the gospel. And here is the shocker, it was a worse community to minister in than Seattle. Can you handle that? Seattle is Club Med compared to Corinth (even though Mark tries to make the comparison to heighten the ministry struggles in that city).

5. That is what the emerging/emergent church is missing today. So much emphasis is placed on methods and not on the proclamation of the gospel itself.

Again, I like Mark - but he does need to grow up my brother (and that is not old news).

6. So, do you believe the art of evangelism is subversion? Do you endorse the writings of Peter Kreeft? Do you think when a man of God assumes his place behind the sacred desk on the Lord's Day to preach the Word that he should tremble at His Word and in humility exposit the Scriptures; or do you think that he should be degrading in his humor, use scatological speech, tell seedy stories, and push the envelop on ones sensibilities as the fulcrum of ministry? And do you think that we should all partner with heretics like Jakes on any occasion?

7. Lastly, I don't need to call Crossway :-). Have you listened to all of the MP3's on "Vintage Jesus?" Check out the second installment where he uses degrading crude humor to describe the Lord Jesus in incarnation on His bathroom habits. Are you not offended by this; or do you support this?

I come from a time brother where men of God trembled at His Word when they preached; by the terror of the Lord persuaded men to follow Jesus; and thought that holiness should be honored.

Where are the Whitefield;s, the Spurgeon;s, the Watson's, the Owen's of today? Where are the solidly reformed evangelists for today? I truly hope Mark will one day be in that number... I really do. May I encourage you to read Isaiah 6 afresh and tell me if you think its a funny scatological thing to come into the presence of a holy God, or a fearful thing?

I appreciate you brother and thank the Lord for you. Think on these things...

Grace and peace,
2 Cor. 4:1-7

Worship Leader Ron said...


I would like to reply to your comments in points 3 and 5.

I believe that you are applying a falacious standard to Mark, one that completely discounts the possible means of others sanctification. You appearently are claiming that the reason Mark should never accept an invitation to speak at a conference if another speaker doesn't hold to completely orthodox views of the christian faith. I wonder what your thought is on those who read papers at ETS and share the room with some who deny God's omnipotance, omniscience, and sovereignty? That is an orthodox belief for both Arminians and Calvinists. Would you hold Dr. Tom Schreiner or D.A. Carson responsible for sharing the venue with those outside of the orthodox view of the faith? Are they accountable because they took the opportunity to speak and give their research to church leaders and christian educators?

Let's keep in mind that Mark isn't inviting Doug Pagitt or T.D. Jakes or Robert Schuler to Mars Hill or to Acts 29 to shepherd his flock on the way to do church. If He ever does this, then I'll be the first to jump on your side and start holding his feet to the fire, but until then let's not continue to have guilt by association.

You also said:

"Timmy and Worship Leader Ron: If you are willing to give Mark a tremendous amount of grace both doctrinally, speech, and pulpit demeanor, I would think it would be just as kind to extend that same leniency of grace in sanctification to HarryJ as well.Why not cover his issues with the same charity you do Mark's?"

I am unaware that I did not extend the same leniency of grace to HarryJ. You said you have addressed the issue with Ed Young Sr. and Jr., but I simply asked if HarryJ was willing to attribute the same ammount responsibility to these men for the words and beliefs of Schuller and Jakes as he does to Driscoll. I think the consistancy is key here.
I asked HarryJ if He believed that God could be using Mark Driscoll for the furthering of the gospel and the kingdom even among those who do not proclaim the gospel or orthodoxy. I do not know how that is being ungracious? I think it is recognizing God's amazing grace that would allow one to trust in the sanctification of others and to trust that the work God is doing in those lives is for his good pleasure and for his purposes. I am at a loss to see how expressing this is anything but being gracious. I think that you would agree that you are seeking to correct me now, or mark on your blog, because you recognize that you may be a means to my sanctification by admonishing me in the truth. I simply seek to do the same thing. Your admonishion is noted, however, I would ask that you give an example of how I have been ungracious to HenryJ in the future. I don't wish to beat at the air.

You also are assuming that I dismissed HarryJ's objections outright. This is not true. I disagree with the use of the word "Suck." I don't believe that Driscoll's speech is always edifying. I recognize that Mark is sinful. I would not minister in the same way he does or give the counsel he gives always. However, I didn't make the comment that Mark was a genius and I don't know anything about Mark quoting a book by a heretic. I agreed that we should be cautious of ALL MEN and their teaching. (Again all this is in my post which leads me to believe that you didn't read it thoroughly).

I think It is clear that I am not apologizing for him, but making TWO points: I saying that (1)it is wrong to call him a heretic because Jakes may be. I am saying that (2) God uses his fallen children as means to bring about the kingdom and I'm not prepared to simply disregard a brother because we disagree.

Steve, Please do let us know how your encounter with Mark goes in Seattle. I assume that since you believe he and Ed Young, Sr. and Ed Young, Jr. should have called the heretic Jakes to repentance, that you are planning on taking seeking out Mark to implore him, lovingly, to repent for his public sins and to repent for his appearently sinful associations (Because like it or not, the perception of an association is really the only thing important. Otherwise we would all just be naive, trusting and gracious brothers right?).

Come give us a report back because we all want to hear of your courage in ministry as you seek to be the means to change your brother's heart.

Worship Leader Ron said...

Why is accepting an invitation to speak and address some believers necessarily "PARTNERING" with that ministry?

When is addressing christians just addressing christians?

When is seeking the sanctification of others just seeking the sanctification of others?

Is it possible that there is no situation in all of life where the guilt of our associations is not our own guilt?

I just don't understand this?

SJ Camp said...

You said, "Come give us a report back because we all want to hear of your courage in ministry as you seek to be the means to change your brother's heart."

Ron, I didn't say that, believe that, nor do I think that. If Mark and I ever have a chance to meet, that meeting will be kept confidential.

His Unworthy Servant in His Unfailing Love,
2 Cor. 4:5-7

SJ Camp said...

Why is accepting an invitation to speak and address some believers necessarily "PARTNERING" with that ministry?

Because you are now directly sponsored by and serving with those on that same platform. And remember, Jakes is not a brother in the Lord; his own confession denies that. If you can deny the One Triune God of the Bible as being co-equal, co-eternal, and co-existing from all eternity, then you not only are worshiping an idol/god of your own invention, but you unravel every essential doctrine of the faith.

When is addressing christians just addressing christians?

Not sure what you mean; but it's not. You can't assume only believers are gathered. Even at a pastor's conference, there are probably unregenerate men present (Acts 17:30-31).

When is seeking the sanctification of others just seeking the sanctification of others?

When they see it in you and when you are more concerned with their growth in Christ than the widening of your own influence (2 Peter 1:4-12).

Is it possible that there is no situation in all of life where the guilt of our associations is not our own guilt?

Of course... The Lord was called very mendacious names: a glutton, winebibber, Beelzebub, a friend of sinners... because He associated with sinners. He is holy, God incarnate, undefiled, and perfect in all His ways and was still falsely accused because of "guilt by association."

I just don't understand this?

LIsten, in ministry it is important that those we partner with, especially in the work of the gospel and the worship of the One Triune God are not only believers, but at least firm and uncompromised on the essentials of the faith. Paul warned in his letters of many whom had taught unsound doctrine or had abandoned the faith altogether. Why do that if it doesn't matter? Why not just go with those people, teach the truth irrespective to what they teach and let others see the difference? Because it matters who we are closest to in a spiritual ministry or enterprise. We are not to be unequally yoked (2 Cor. 6:14-7:1). A little leaven, leavens the whole lump brother.

Does this make anymore sense on these things? Please let me know how I can best serve you in this discussion.

Thank you for your questions...

Grace and peace,
Col. 1:9-14

dogpreacher said...

As far as Dr. Ware being a 4 point Calvinist (although that has NOTHING to do with the matter at hand), would youlike to borrow my copy (VHS) of the Calvinist/Wesleyan debate @ "Asbury" where he partners with Dr. Schreiner VS. Dongell/???.... at which he SAYS that he is.

SIMPLE: If (I said...IF) his teaching is heresy (another gospel) he is to be called accursed [Gal. 1](NOT a brother who is a little rowdy in the pulpit) and noted for what he is.

HOWEVER...if (I said...IF) he IS preaching the "only gospel", and is yet errant on certain doctrine (excluding Scripture, Christ [virgin birth, crucifixion, resurrection], Salvation [faith alone]), OR is flippant in the pulpit (Maybe...just maybe...those of us who are called to the "pulpit", and step behind it with sincerity/gravity a few times each week are a little more testy about this part [and we should be, ] than those of you who do not) should receive rebuke, reproval, & exhortation (Titus 2:7-9). But...that's very rarely done these days...

Whichever side you come down on...

A "genius", & a "gift to the North American Church"... Timmy, surely you jest!:-) the Blogjock wars all about who can be the most biting and condescending when disagreed with? #:-( CHOMP!

Chris said...

I just wanted to weigh in on this discussion. i was at the Convergent conference at SEBTS last weekend and wanted to give you my thoughts.

1. I found the conference and the SBC to be very reactionary to the emergent church issue. I do believe that this is where having Driscoll speak can be helpful.
2. Regarding Driscoll: I agree with Steve Camp on the issue of Driscoll attending a conference with TD Jakes. I was disappointed that he accepted the invitation to attend. The reason being first and foremost of Jakes' position on teh trinity but also there are a lot of young church planters out there that highly regard TD Jakes and quote him often. These same young church planters also hold Driscoll in high esteem and emulate Driscoll to a high degree. By Driscoll and Jakes sharing a stage, I agree with Camp that Driscoll gave an implicit endorsement of Jakes.
2. I will have to go back and listen to the Convergent MP3s BUT i could have sworn it was Danny Akin that brought up Peter Kreeft's name during the Q&A session and then the professor moderating asked a question about Peter Kreeft being Catholic. I really dont recall Driscoll bringing him up.
3. I think Driscoll walks the fine line with worldly matters and often crosses that line. I am concerned about weaker brothers who emulate Driscoll's foray into worldly matters. Again, we are to be IN the world not OF the world. Driscoll flirts with that line.

With all that said, I am thankful that Driscoll spoke at teh conference if for no other reason but pointing out Doug Pagitt being invited to speak at a conference supported by the NC Baptist Association. Pagitt has since been uninvited. IT was also good to see Driscoll drawing some theological lines among the popular pastors and authors out there that Driscoll often gets lumped with. Driscoll displayed courage to call out men such as McLaren, Rob Bell whose Velvet Elvis by the way is still being recommended by the SC Baptist Association ( ) I am a Southern Baptist layman and i can honestly say that often times we southern baptists arent the most discerning folks when it comes to the likes of Rob Bell and Doug Pagitt. It was good for Driscoll to post a wakeup call to certain men;s teachings that we have let creep into out SBC churches.

Even though I do have concerns about Driscoll, I find him to be an excellent Bible teacher and theologian. I do enjoy listening to his sermons and conference lectures. I too hope that as he grows older in age and maturity that he will leave some of his worldlyness (is that a word) by the wayside. I think it was a great step on his behalf to speak at a SBC event. He did seem a little uncomfortable speaking Friday night but was relaxed during the Q&A session. I think that we as Southern Baptists can learn much from Driscoll in the areas of church planting and evangelizing to young adults. Many of the young adult men coming up today are leaving the SBC and are more attracted to Driscoll and his Acts 29 ministry. We must learn why and make steps to mentorm, groom, and embrace the young adults withing the SBC if we hope to be viable going forward

SJ Camp said...

Excellent brother... Thank you for your words.

May the Lord grant you the wisdom to preach His word with power, conviction, humility, and in love tomorrow.

And with that, this old man is off to bed...

Yours for the Master's use,
Psalm 119:160

PS - Tom, praying for you tomorrow as well as you preach God's Word. Love you brother!

SJ Camp said...

I thought I was off to bed... But your words were too good to let rest until morning.

Thank you for your wisdom and balance on this issue: I will be quoting you in the future. Great insights here...

Grace and peace,
Psalm 1

MLSmith said...

I would have to agree with puritan, cyd, sj camp and likeminded brothers and sisters on this issue. (Keep fighting the good fight, Steve. Especially here in Nashville, we need that, brother.)

I think we must agree that the question ultimately is... "What saith the Scriptures?" And puritan did an excellent job refering to God's Word. I would exhort us all to be fruit inspectors when deciding whose ministry and teaching we support and endorse, whether wholesale or not.

What is the danger here? PRAGMATISM. Is God an end or is he a means?

If a man preaches enough truth, then can we be pragmatic and ignore blatant sin and irreverence for God and His Word? Instead of overlooking sin, should we not call the sinner to repentance in love, praying diligently that God would grant it? Until we see fruit in keeping with repentance, what is the proper thing for us to do that God might use a means to grant that repentance?

"The question comes to this, what is the standard of success and by what means are we going to judge our lives and our ministry? And the question that you are going to ask yourself is, 'Is Gos an end or is He a means?' Our generation is prepared to honor successful choices. As long as a person can get things done or get the job done then our generation is prepared to say well done."
- Paris Reidhead, "Ten Shekels and a Shirt"

And I would add, it is a great temptation for us who are Reformed to accept a "brother" as long as he affirms the Doctrines of Grace.

"And what I do I will continue to do, in order to undermine the claim of those who would like to claim that in their boasted mission they work on the same terms as we do. For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds."
(2 Corinthians 11:12-15, ESV)

Grace and peace to you all.

for the sake of the gospel,
Marty Smith
Franklin, TN

SJ Camp said...

Thanks for your encouraging words and thoughts on this issue. Nashville is a needy place spiritually though most people don't think so because it is located in the heart of the Bible-belt.

You're right, pragmatism is one of the key issues plaguing the church today. We need a new reformation...

Lord Jesus, sovereignly move among your people by the preaching of your Word and through the power of the Holy Spirit, plow up our fallow ground, revive us again - and bring a greater awakening in our day! Amen.

To all here:
Here is what I do appreciate greatly about Mark's ministry:

1. His keen ability to rightly decipher the times and seasons we live in.

2. Equally so, his unique ability to really discern through the myriad of issues that mark and identify the emerging/emergent church and their leadership.

3. When making those distinctives, he uses primary source - a lost and respected art in today's evangelicalism. Listen to his message from the SEBTS series nine days ago; he highlighted well the theology of Brian McLaren, Doug Pagitt and Rob Bell - whom I refer to as the unholy trinity of the emergent church. Mark really nailed it on their beliefs and practices.

4. Mark is centered on the person and work of Jesus Christ. Christology is the wheelhouse of his theology and that is refreshing to see especially coming from the background and alliances he once enjoyed.

5. I appreciate that Mark is wanting men to be men within the church, culture, and their families. To be servant-leaders, but lead to be certain.

6. Mark has an evangelists heart to see people truly coming to know Jesus as Lord and Savior. Many have lost that passion within reformed circles and may he be one of many matches to spark a new desire to proclaim the gospel in whatever town you may reside.

7. Lastly, Mark does believe in the authority of God's Word. He is a man of the Book and I can rejoice in that greatly.

As Tom urged us to do, let us pray for him, for each other, our own pastors and ministries, that we would stay true to Jesus, true to His Word, up to date in our sanctification, relying not on our own power, but in the power of the Holy Spirit and doing all for the glory of God alone.

I'm off to church...

2 Cor. 4:5-7

Lindon said...

"First, let me say thanks for reading my blog. I am glad that you find my content worthy of reproducing (though attribution would be courteous)."

Yes, I have visited your blog mostly looking for conferences that have been blogged. But I am stunned you think you are the only person to read that book. That quote from the book has been discussed by several of my friends who attend SBTS which is how I even knew about it. However, I have no problem giving you credit. Consider it done.

"Now to Driscoll. The quote to which you refer was made to pastors after the Ted Haggard debaucle. What you did not share is that Driscoll shortly afterwards apologized for what he wrote and stated that it was inappropriate and wrong for him to say that."

Yes, you are right. He did apologize after the outcry on the blogosphere. I certainly hope and pray there was a change of heart in his thinking.

-M said...

I know I'm the child putting my toes in the deep end of the water posting here on this discussion. But it surprises me that when people are critical of Mark, I've rarely seen it in light of the qualifications 1 Timothy 3 outlines for overseers of the church. Being above reproach, self-controlled, respectable, not violent but gentle are just a few of the qualifications where I could see people legitimately questioning Mark.
I can understand the "contextual" arguments in favor of his particular approach if he was just a fellow Christian seeking the lost, but he is the "overseer" of a church body--so should he not be striving to meet all the requirements of 1 Timothy 3???
Just 2 cents.

Worship Leader Ron said...

I just want to repent because I agree 100% with you Steve on speaking next to T.D. Jakes. After reflecting on what you said and having consulted some scripture, I do believe that it is not acceptable even to "appear" to condone the teaching of one who is demonstrably heretical. In thinking about that issue, I was presuming that it would be more important to go ahead and minister to the hundreds or thousands that would hear you and seek to win them to the truth no matter who else was teaching, but I don't see scripture supporting that kind of association.

I also want to say that having reread my posts, I find that they sound very rude. I did not intend to sound mean spirited. I have been at church since 8:30 this morning and am now home at 8:18 p.m. and don't know if anyone else has commented on this, but I would like to apologize. I have had much need to examine my speech and my heart this day. God is good and faithful and Christ has covered my sins. I want to trust in him and not in my cleverness or in arguments. I repent and ask for your forgiveness Steve.

I don't comment on blogs much. Maybe I should continue in that path, but I have examined my heart today and the word more closely because of this post.

Thanks as always Tom for you and your ministry. It remains a great blessing. (I say that for this post, but also because I read 20 pages of Boyce's Abstract today. Always a blessing!)

Tom said...

Well... Lots of engergetic comments have been added here in the last couple of days. Good discussion, for the most part. Thanks to each of you who have addressed the substantive issues in play.

Steve, I would love to join you and Mark D for a cup of coffee next week...if you guys could drop by SW Florida for a few hours. When I was in Seattle a couple of years ago I had planned to visit Mars Hill but was providentially kept from doing so. A reformed pastor friend here did visit out there recently, as did a couple of church members from Grace. Each of them came back with a real appreciation for the Gospel that was preached. I rejoice in that, as well. Your list of things that you appreciate about Mark is insightful and helpful. Thanks.

To all:
No one is above criticism and some of the things that have been brought up here are worth discussing. But in the midst of it let's not hang a man who preaches Christ. I have often wondered at Paul's statement in Philippians 1:15-18 and have prayed that the spirit that lived in him might live in me, so that if someone is preaching Christ, I will rejoice rather than complain about all the things that are wrong with the preacher.

Tony Kummer posted this video clip of one of Mark Driscoll's sermons. It is worth watching.

I will be away for a couple of days and may not have time to check in here until then. Keep the discussion pertinent.

Press on,

lordodamanor said...

Well, I'd have to say that that video was a pretty straight forward Gospel message, up front with the law and the good news offer. Good stuff- and I don't even like Driscoll!

The Gospel is not "the art of subversion?"

He catches the wise in their own craftiness, and the schemes of the wily are brought to a quick end.

Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question, saying, “What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?” They said to him, “The son of David.” He said to them, “How is it then that David, in the Spirit, calls him Lord, saying, “‘The Lord said to my Lord,
Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet’? If then David calls him Lord, how is he his son?” And no one was able to answer him a word, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions.

“Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves."


1. activity undermining government: an action, plan, or activity intended to undermine or overthrow a government or other institution 2. overthrow of something: the destruction or ruining of something

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.

Yep- it's the Gospel of subversion alright!

"I wonder what your thought is on those who read papers at ETS and share the room with some who deny God's omnipotance, omniscience, and sovereignty? That is an orthodox belief for both Arminians and Calvinists."

Well not really. Not all of us believe that Arminians hold to an orthodox view of God. Of the five pillars in TULIP, four speak to the nature of man, but the L speaks of the nature of God. Take this pillar alway and the other four fall. It is the center post that supports the entirety of the whole. Take it away and the roof collapses. You can take any of the other four away; it will remain intact. This one speaks to God's omnicience, his omnipotence and his omnipresence in the other four. They are not necessary for this one to be, but this one is absolute, and the necessary cause of the other four. So, for some of us, the rejection of this L is the rejection of the whole. And to some of us, its rejection smells of heresy.

Still, we might cooperate with those who do not rightly understand the import of its denial. Where we must stand is when the oppostition defines God's sovereignty in such a way that they undermine His most fundamental nature. It is usually at this L where those who might be convinced of the others will stumble. Here's the thing, most Arminians accept the L in some form or fashion, they just do not understand it.

As to scatology:

But the Rabshakeh said to them, “Has my master sent me to speak these words to your master and to you, and not to the men sitting on the wall, who are doomed with you to eat their own dung and to drink their own urine?”

The Hebrew for dung here is the vulgar word chere' (Tsow'ah) or s***. Urine, shayin, used alongside it probably carries the same crude connotation.

Though another word is used here:

"Behold, I will rebuke your offspring, and spread dung on your faces, the dung of your offerings, and you shall be taken away with it."

-it still has the same import. The Lord is going to rub their own s*** in their faces. This doesn't make for a nice sermon, it is offensive, but we must remember that it was the Jews who were saying that the Lord's table was contemptable. Strong sentimental inference required a like rebuke.

Or how about:

"So and more also do God unto the enemies of David, if, I leave of all that pertain to him by the morning light any that pisseth against the wall."

A colloquialism, it means "every swinging harry," if you get the slang. This phrase is use at least four times in the OT. So, do not be such prudes living in a cleaned-up puritanical reality that just is not true to life, or to the Scripture.

What would Jesus say? He displayed a demeanor and used words that some today would never use. Of disciples and followers, of those in government and church leadership, he used words like, Satan, fox, stupids, dullards, hardhearted.... One can only imagine what words Paul chewed on Peter with! What would Peter, Paul, James and John say? Remember Peter's response to Simon the magus, "May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is not right before God. Repent, therefore, of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you. For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity." (Gall is the word chloe, means green, like green with envy, but it also means full of "it.")

That if it is possible he may be forgiven? I thought God forgave eveyone who calls upon his name? Wrong. Nasty remark, but remember the effect, there was at least the appearance of repentance. Try Peter's line using the soft effeminate character that, today, most often than not, is portrayed of Jesus!

Read this:

Martin Luther was called the master of scatology (the study of human feces, figuratively refers to slinging it verbally), because he had the "bad" un-Christian behavior of becoming enraged and saying things with "color." To put it in the negative, he was beligerant, just as Jesus was on several occasions, like when he drove the money changers out (we must keep in mind that it is his Word in Kings and Malachi). That strange admonishment in Ephesians, "Be angry and sin not. Do not let the sun go down on your wrath" falls upon deaf ears in the Church today because of the limp wristed, whitewash, emasculated presentation of Christ to the world. "A false balance is an abomination to the Lord,
but a just weight is his delight." From the writings of Paul, reflecting on Jesus' own teaching, we have the adomonition:
"Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. But what we are is known to God, and I hope it is known also to your conscience. We are not commending ourselves to you again but giving you cause to boast about us, so that you may be able to answer those who boast about outward appearance and not about what is in the heart. For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.

From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."

It might do well to remember: "Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap."

A twisted perversion of the whole landscape of Scripture that skews it left or right will in the end produce death. Take care then to rightly divide the Word of Truth, for it is also written:

'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'

Timmy Brister said...


You are correct that it was presumption on my part that, on the very day (Sept. 19) I post that excerpt from Garrison's book, it appeared on your blog. Mere coincidence conceded. I also regret that my comments led you to believe that I though I was the only one who read the book. Certainly that was not my intention.


Thank you for giving more things to think about. I sincerely respect your challenging thoughts and critique. I came on this thread originally to simply acknowledge Driscoll's ministry and applaud Tom for publicly recognizing it as well. I simply fear the retribution Tom would inevitably receive from even mentioning Driscoll on his blog. Have you not seen the mischaracterizations and half-truths on this thread alone? I simply cannot allow a brother to be treated this way. I would hope that if I were unfairly scrutinized in such manner someone would care to hold such tactics accountable.

We can argue and debate this issue all day and all night long. I am not Driscoll's apologist, nor am I going to start here on this thread. I believe in the Jesus and gospel Driscoll preaches. I believe in the God in Driscoll. I believe in the passion God has given Driscoll for young ministers and church planting. I believe in living lives as missionaries in our culture (missional) in order to win people to Christ as Driscoll has modeled. NO ONE on this thread or elsewhere has given any warrant for unbelief. There are some things said and done in Driscoll's ministry that I disagree with, but I believe it is a stretch to argue that Driscoll is partnering with Jakes and others by simply sharing the same stage. By Mohler coming on Larry King Live with secularists and New Age folks like Deepak Chopra make him just as culpable? But I digress.

I surmise that the things I formentioned that I believe in are being shared by scores of young men and women who want to make a difference for the kingdom of God. They love the church. They are passionate about the gospel. They want to reach the world, yes, the world many Southern Baptists don't know exist. They want to see the glory of Christ in a transformed community of blood-bought sinners. And what they see in Driscoll is someone who believes the very same thing and is living it. Honestly, I am not there. I suspect that most of Driscoll's critics are not there. But I want to be, and Driscoll is committed to helping others get there while doing it himself.

So yeah, when I mentioned that Driscoll is a genius and gift to the North American church, I meant no jest.

While some may be using their free time to hunt down Driscoll's cuss words and find the next crude statement, I prefer to use my time learning from him in how to plant churches and impact my world for Christ. So with that said, I am going to bow out of this conversation for the sake of my conscience and own sanctification. Grace and peace.

Lin said...

o"So with that said, I am going to bow out of this conversation for the sake of my conscience and own sanctification. Grace and peace.

1:06 AM, October 01, 2007

But after one more cheap shot at me. Well done, brother. I was not even the subject of the post...Driscoll is. Yet you thought it perfectly ok to attack me. Now, you are worried about sanctification? What I wrote about Driscoll is verifiable fact. What you wrote about me is conjecture. What are our seminaries turning out these days?

I am wondering, when you have kids, will you have to censure 'pastor' Driscoll around them? Would their mouths be washed with soap for using the same language? Would you like for your daughter to read what this pastor had to say about women? Or perhaps your kid will think TD Jakes is cool because he preaches with Driscoll.

My prayer is that Driscoll cleans up his act and his heart.

Wait until you hear: Daddy if he loves Jesus, why would he say bad words all the time?

Danan Leab said...

Wow, what a response indeed to Dr. Ascol's original posting. I invite everyone to do as I just did. Having read all the heated opinions on this man, step back and consider these requirements:

"Therefore an overseer must be above reproach...soberminded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable...not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome...well thought of by outsiders," etc.

Come on guys. If you've got to spend more time apologizing and explaining and contextualizing the antics of somebody than discussing the actual contents of the Gospel he preaches, then we have a problem!

If he stirs up so much controversy and heated discussion within the body of Christ, imagine how his message is tainted to those outside the body of Christ!

"Let your speech be gracious, seasoned with salt..."

If anyone wants to bring up Martin Luther, or even John Piper, I would simply point back to Paul.

MLSmith said...

Brothers and Sisters,

I'm just a layman, saved by grace, but I believe we all should be living coram Deo... before the face of God... in ALL that we do... in word, thought and deed... living one’s life in the presence of God, under the authority of God, to the honor and glory of God.

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God... isn't it to visit the orphan and the widow, and TO KEEP ONESELF UNSTAINED FROM THE WORLD (James 1:27)? What fellowship has light with darkness (2 Cor. 6:14)?

I thought this hit the nail on the head...

"God will seek and save those who are lost by the very means He has appointed in His inspired Word. He is the sovereign Lord of all creation, and He certainly does not need to rely upon the cleverly devised, cultic tactics and trendy 'seeker-sensitive' techniques of Madison Avenue to woo those who are blind to the Gospel...

... In fact, when such carefully-contrived tactics are used, the blind are usually led by the blind who lead them not to the God of the Bible but to the god of some romatic biography in which that god will do anything he must to win the affections of those he has helplessly lost. May it never be...

... Rather may God continue to use the clear, unvarnished preaching of His Word by His people to seek and save the lost so that they may see His glory and live coram Deo, before His face forevermore."

- Burk Parsons, Oct. 2007 Tabletalk

in Christ,
marty smith
Gal. 2:20

Shannon said...

I wanted to express my minor concerns with your comments posted on this subject. I single you out because your comments seem to be more objective and informed then some of our more emotionally charged friends.(1Tim 1:7)

1. In your 6th comnt you say that Driscoll wont "pass the test" of being considered reformed. I wonder what of his theology makes you say that? Seriously.
2. In your 7th comment it seems that you are judging his motives in what he says. I only say that because I too have concerns with a few things he or others might say or do, but I can't be sure that what they have done is sin unless I confront them in love and establish 1st hand that they're motives were sinful or be prepared to stand corrected. Your comnt about his "self-aggrandized promotion of his own book" or "who can say what 4 letter word and get away with it" I think are examples of such judgment of an others motives. And since you have not met him in person, I think it disqualifies you from making such a judgment.
3. In your 8th comnt you say that we should "measure what anyone does by the standard of God's Word; not by culture.." I think you are absolutlely right, let's do that: You mention his shock jock approaches and the so-called 4 letter words he uses from the pulpit or that he mentions the demographics of his city too much.
Which of these criticsims are judged by the Word of God. It doesn't seem to me that he's striving to merely shock people for entertainments sake. He ministers in a particular city that has a lot of single 18-30
yr olds and has made it his life's goal to reach as many as possible with the gospel. Ed Stetzer says that if you want to reach someone, you have to reach them in their culture. Wether in foreign villages or urban America we need to speak to people in the language they speak. 18-30 yr old males are the least likely to go to church in the US. Why? Many of them say that it's because church seems irrelevant, more like a group of people with a system of rules that aren't in the bible. Instead of a cheerful bunch: wise, discerning, hardworking,Jesus loving people. And sadly I think that this is true in some cases. And the church is doing little to try and make the bible more understandable to non christians. Instead our preaching is filled with big theological terms we learned in text books or web sites and don't take the time to properly define them, or we quote a theologian that many have never heard of and never explain why they should care about his comnt or we'll dress in clothes that our audience's grandfather would love. That is modern american evangelical culture. If someone strays from that culture and adopts the parts of the native culture of the people they are trying to reach that are "redeamable" as Tim Keller refers to it, can we say that they are straying from biblical principles or cultural ones? The church as a whole in the US is not reaching the next generation where jokes and stories are the primary forms of expression. People like Driscoll are reaching the least churched people, in the least churched city because God was plesed to mold and shape our brother in a way that would most effectivley reach them without God losing the Glory.
4. Lastly, I think we all have a tendancy to be overly dogmatic on issues that the bible is either unclear on or completly silent. Driscoll never says anything that would make me cover my daughter's ears, but I can understand that others would not be as comfortable. He for the record doesnt say the F-word or the S-word or any other word that would put a 13 behing the PG rating of a movie. His sermons are steeped in sound theology that is not only stated but applied within the hour and 1/2 sermon that thousands come to here every week. They have the Lord's supper every week, theology course for every one from beginners to seminary lvl, stong on biblical man-woman issues, babtistic, reformed, and talks more about Jesus in his messages than most.
Thanks for listening,
"mr." Shannon Touhy

Bernabe Belvedere said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Craig said...


I ran into your blog as I was doing a little research based on a conversation I had with Jennifer McKinnely. Your sketch of Jennifer is very inaccurate and completely inappropriate based on the few quotes taken out of the article. I respect that the article may present Jennifer in this light, but I can tell you it is inaccurate in that portrayal. Jennifer is not saying that these women are idiots for pursuing being a wife and a mother. What she is saying is that these women are buying into a very narrowly defined view of womanhood that is very one-sided look at with what the Bible actually teaches. Mars Hill was and still is clearly impacting SPU's campus in some very negative ways as women, who in many cases aren't married or even dating, give up viable paths of studies to pursue Mark's narrowly defined vocation for women which is effectively only that of mother and wife. It's as if some of these girls are brainwashed into thinking that the only viable degree for a women is family and consumer sciences in preparation for being a mother and wife.