Jesus sent his twelve disciples out by two’s in Matthew 10 to proclaim the imminence of the Kingdom of Heaven. As part of his charge to them, Jesus told them in verse 16 that he was sending them out like sheep in the middle of wolves “so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.”
That phrase has haunted me since I first remember seeing it in a coach’s devotion after football practice in high school. (yes, I went to a christian school.)
Look at it again: “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.”
“I am sending you out” Jesus commissioned the disciples and he has commissioned us.
“as sheep in the midst of wolves” Jesus sent them out to a world that hated him and would therefore hate his followers. (cf 10:24-25) But his disciples were to remain “as sheep.”
“so be wise as serpents” this is the part that just continues to rotate in my mind. Why say it like this? Specifically, why “serpent”? was Jesus saying that we are to know the schemes of that old serpent, Satan as well as the snake himself does? I think maybe that is it. I think perhaps this is Jesus teaching his disciples to be very aware of the particular worldly culture into which they were ministering.
“and innocent as doves” at the same time that his disciples were to be in the world and wise regarding Satan’s schemes therein, they were to remain innocent as doves. They were to keep their character as sheep following their Chief Shepherd. In the world but not of the world. familiar with the culture, but not polluted thereby.
Study it for yourselves and tell me if I am off base. Just meditate on chapter 10 of Matthew for a while.
Anyway, I bring that up because I really like Mark Driscoll.
To me, he exemplifies a man of God sent by Jesus as a sheep in the middle of Seattle Washington’s wolves. He endeavors to be as wise as a serpent, and as innocent as a dove. Obviously, like all of us, he fails in one or both sides of this equation from time to time. But he is trying to thread that needle rather than staying safely on the side of remaining innocent as a dove, because he knows that his obligation is to people in Seattle that desperately need to hear the voice of the Shepherd and will not do so unless the man God uses to call them is wise to the worldly culture in which the people live.
the main thing is that Mark is trying to thread the needle of being as wise as a serpent while remaining as harmless as a dove so that he can fully obey Jesus command to preach that the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
One of the more vociferous critics of Mark Driscoll has been Steve Camp. I love Steve Camp, but couldn’t understand the unbalanced nature of his attacks on Mark.
That is where I had failed in addressing these things concerning Mark and his ministry; this is where the Lord convicted me as I reviewed some of my past articles I had written about him. I was not godly in how I used words to speak of those concerns on this blog. IOW, I came to see that in a very real way we have the same problem… just a different manifestation. I find myself identifying with Isaiah in the temple as “a man of unclean lips” that needed to repent of his sin. Unclean lips doesn’t necessarily mean here a tongue that uses seedy speech, but rather one that represents a heart that is not right before the Lord – unworthy deserving judgment. That was me; and apart from God’s sanctifying grace each day – that is still me. IOW beloved, my heart was not right towards my brother in Christ. I should have been more gracious, charitable and balanced in my words when commenting about his ministry in the Lord. In my zeal to champion reformed biblical theology which I deeply believe, I was blinded to the prideful log in my own eye while blogging about the speck in my brother’s eye. For this, I sincerely ask the readers of this blog and those associated with Mark and Mars Hill Church to please forgive me. I have already asked this of Mark privately and he has been most kind to extend to me a heart of mercy. It is my desire to always speak the truth in love and to not carelessly amputate another in that process.
Steve makes public his apology in the context of a review of Mark Driscoll’s recent debate with Deepak Chopra regarding the existence of Satan.
Steve realizes in watching Mark’s performance during this debate the nature of Mark’s gifting by God.
4. Mark has a rare ability to take complex spiritual truth and say them in a simple and pedestrian way that communicates the core meaning (while staying true to Scripture) to those who don’t speak Christianeeze or have never darkened the door of a church before. This is a gift; and one I wish more pastors had.
Go read the whole post by Steve regarding his apology to Mark and his review of the nightline debate. Very useful and edifying stuff indeed.
Filed under: church, culture, teaching | Tagged: deepak chopra, harmless as doves, innocent as doves, mark driscoll, matthew 10:16, nightline, nightline face off, steve camp, Timmy Brister, wise as serpents |