more fighting

I think that the leadership of the SBC is really misunderstanding the moment we are in historically, culturally, theologically.

Here is the Baptist Press article about Mark Driscoll.

Here is a response from Southeastern Seminary that just had a conference with Mark Driscoll as one of the speakers.

Here are some thoughts from Todd Burus, a young Southern Baptist.

And here is what Timmy Brister has to say.

I just want to echo Timmy’s closing remarks on this episode:

In any [] case, the fact that articles like this can be written about a brother in Christ that is so inaccurate and uncharitable in the Baptist Press does not raise the issue of Mark Driscoll but Christian virtue. I’m tired of being embarrassed as a Southern Baptist, and I would much rather partner with those who resembles Jesus than the Sanhedrin. As for Dr. Akin, he deserves our prayers and deepest respect. He, like others (e.g., John Piper, C.J. Mahaney, Tim Keller, etc.), has chosen to see what God is doing in the life of Mark Driscoll and encourage him. Undoubtedly, Akin has and will continue to (as a result of this BP article) receive grief and criticism as a result. As for Mark Driscoll, I would put him up to any Southern Baptist preacher today who preaches Christ and Him crucified (and how many SBC churches can you find Jesus preached on any given Sunday?). Baptist Press’ efforts would serve the cause of Southern Baptist life much more in the future should they highlight such preachers who are planting gospel-centered churches and reaching this younger generation whom we have all but written off. Southern Baptists can learn from Mark Driscoll, but that can only begin when we lay down the knives.

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6 Responses

  1. I must confess that I do not quite understand this thinking. Aren’t the pastor/teachers among us worthy of the strictest scrutiny. If they cannot stand up to the scrutiny of the brethren, how will they give an answer to GOD? And I say this as, I believe, one who has received the calling of GOD to pastor and preach.

    I was under the impression that substantial correction, even stern rebuke from concerned brothers or sisters that is felt as a “blow” or a “wound” (from the language of Proverbs), was to be welcomed, cherished and encouraged. Even Driscoll himself seems to say that criticism, even if given in a bad spirit, can still contain something helpful. I fear for a people who disdain criticism and are more concerned for protecting one another (especially leaders) from suffering any challenges to their self-confidence. Isn’t it self-confidence that usually leads to great harm? Isn’t it a teaching of Scripture that the heart is abominably wicked and very subtle, that even where we think ourselves most untouched by sin, therein lies a pit as black as any?

    As for me, whatever others have to say, they can hardly speak of me in more lurid terms than our LORD has employed already, so that I would have to agree with Spurgeon who said, in regard to his critics, “They don’t know the half of it.”

  2. Hey Benjamin,

    I am not sure which thinking you don’t understand. Of course pastors and teachers are the subject of the strictest scrutiny, and of course Mark Driscoll should rightly be held accountable for his words and deeds.

    This fuss is not over legitimate criticism of Mark by Christian brothers who want to encourage him today as long as it is called today so that he is not hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. If that is what this fuss was, then the person with the issue would presumably have confronted Mark about the issue in some other way besides an article in the Baptist Press.

    No, this fuss is about taking old battles over old issues and continuing to use them as a bludgeon after repentance and restoration. This bludgeoning is done, not because it is “news”, but as an excuse to thrash a seminary for having the audacity to have “calvinist” beliefs and inviting non Baptist calvinist speakers to their campus for a conference. This fuss is about Baptist leadership pushing for theological purity in an area where Christian brothers should be able to disagree.

    In short, this particular fuss in this format is maddening and unnecessary. If someone has a problem with Mark Driscoll’s words or actions or sermon topics or web links on his web site, then confront him about those things as a brother in Christ.

    He has demonstrated already in the last ten years that, like all of us, he is a work in progress. He is willing to take correction. He is willing to learn from the goads of a friend.

    Criticism and goading/provocation from a friend that wants me or you to improve our walk with God is essential. I welcome that sort of thing as any follower of Christ should. Dredging up past failures that have already been the subject of repentance is not helpful. It does not edify and it most certainly does not seem to be intended to minister grace to the hearer.

    Ephesians 4:25-32 standards of conduct and discourse are conspicuously absent from this Baptist Press piece.

  3. I’m sorry, brother… I am somewhat ignorant of the controversy that has surrounded Mr. Driscoll for some time, but I would like to understand. He is a curious figure for me, especially in his relationship to John Piper.

    I grew up as a Southern Baptist and am familiar with the controversies that often broil up in convention politics. I know about the Founders movement and the backlash from the Arminian side. I have that background to work from in appreciating what you are saying and it is likely that you understand more of what lies behind that article in the Baptist Press than I could see in it.

    Yet I am admittedly confused as to how you could perceive so clearly the motives of its authors, particularly that they published the piece as “an excuse to thrash a seminary for having the audacity to have ‘calvinist’ beliefs and inviting non Baptist calvinist speakers to their campus for a conference.” Do you know the authors personally or have you followed their work which attests to this pattern of attitude behind their ministry? Was it more of an educated guess as to what the authors were up to?

    From my point of view, the article proved to be very helpful because I had heard often that Driscoll was referred to as the “cussing preacher” but I wasn’t sure what had earned him the title (if anything). I had not known him to curse in the relatively few sermons I had listened to, and in the article I was glad to learn the context of this problem and its ultimate resolution. It made me hopeful to hear that Mr. Driscoll had put away such practices. Yet, even in this hope, another question naturally occurred to me.

    There are certain characteristics and qualities which a man must have to be a shepherd of GOD’s people and it doesn’t seem to me that profanity fits with the ideal of a man who is, according to Paul, “self-controlled,” “respectable,” “dignified,” “well thought of by outsiders” and “holy.” Nor does it follow the prescription of our LORD through Paul that we should, “Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking” among us.

    I think even Mr. Driscoll would agree with this today and I am also confident that you would say with me that these are not areas “where Christian brothers should be able to disagree.” I assume then that this was not the sort of thing you were referring to. Why then did a church ever allow Mr. Driscoll to stand in the pulpit and profane it? Why did he remain an elder through the years of profanity?

    I ask this because my father was a pastor and I have listened to his stories and followed the shifting character of leadership and the growth of youth leadership in the Church for many years. Many churches are simply unwilling to hold their pastors accountable for remaining within the parameters of purity which Scripture sets before us and, when we do this, when we ignore the fact that a pastor is meant to represent Christ to the outside world more than anyone else, it is often crushing. A history of scandalous activities among famous “pastors” have demonstrated this much…

    I do not know — perhaps you do — whether the author(s) of the BP article ever approached Mr. Driscoll over these concerns. Perhaps privately Mr. Driscoll did not agree with their evaluation of his ministry and they instead warned others publicly about him. Perhaps that is even why they are rather late in addressing some of these topics to an audience that may not be so familiar with Driscoll’s past.

    Should his past have any effect upon how one sees his ministry today? That question must be answered with another: how does his past affect him currently and did he really leave it behind?

    If he repented publicly of his representation of his office in the past — and perhaps you can correct my ignorance here — then he was, for some years, a pastor in direct conflict with the LORD’s description of those whom He calls as true shepherds. No matter how gifted Driscoll might be in leadership and public speaking, he was not in all that time a true man of GOD and, of course, one major flaw never exists in isolation.

    I am very happy that he repented, though I am confused as to why he did not step down so that, in time, he could learn the deep discernment which he apparently did not possess. Does his repentance, whatever the nature of it, make him qualified as a pastor today?

    Well, his ministry is still publicly embroiled in talk about graphically sexual matters that even make the lost blush. His ministry has seemingly become something of a by-word to them which makes it hard to place Driscoll in the category of those for whom “outsiders” think well of. They should admire his purity and integrity, even if they hate his message. The opposite appears to be true here… They mock his apparent lack of integrity and enjoy his message, at least where it hinges so often upon racier topics.

    I honestly have not made up my mind about Mr. Driscoll and would like to understand him. I am not trying to misrepresent him. I am simply confused about how he fits into any historical or Biblical model of what a pastor must be to stand as a model of faith and holiness to the lambs in his charge. Do you know of any other historical pastors of godly character anything like Driscoll? Would we find any of them making his choices?

  4. hey Benjamin,

    all good questions. all the proper subject of a discussion between Mark and people who have his ear and want to assist him. None of this is an excuse for a hit piece news story on a pastor by the Baptist Press.

    I am not going to play the role of defending him, except to point out that he has a unique and uniquely effective ministry.

    On the main blog I will post two links to friends of Mark’s who do know him and defend him so that you will have a better idea of why I believe the Baptist Press article was unfair and uncharitable hit piece.

  5. […] point when I even referenced the presence of this fight yesterday morning is precisely this. The SBC leadership seems to be missing completely the moment we are in […]

  6. Thank you very much for the resources. They are a great help…

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