August 27, 2014

Driscoll Drama: To those who sold tickets

by Jesse Johnson

In many ways, Mark Driscoll’s stepping down from his church brings to a close a somewhat ignominious chapter in the history of American Evangelicalism (you know something is ignominious when it gets Voxified). The Driscoll Decade of Drama unfolded like a circus: for ten years there was a show in town, and there were otherwise respectable people selling tickets. Many of those people have now taken to hoping for Driscoll’s repentance. Here is the most famous example:


First, a few disclaimers. 1. Ten years ago I made a personal rule to not blog on anything related to Mark Driscoll. To the best of my memory I have kept that quasi-vow, but am breaking it now.

Second, I have a huge/tremendous respect for John Piper and Douglas Wilson. They are probably my two favorite living authors, and Wilson is probably my favorite Christian blogger (along with Challies, of course). I mean no disrespect to these men at all.

Now then.

It strikes me that in the chorus of calls to pray for Driscoll’s repentance, or hope for his hopeful repentance, or whatever other optimistic attitude we are supposed to have for that aforementioned repentance, there is something missing. Namely, the ownership of the problem.

And here is where some history is helpful. Much of this is old news, but bear with me.

About 12 years ago Driscoll began publishing and advocating a new way of doing church. Out with regenerate church membership. Out with corporate worship music as it has always been known. Out with sanctification as a theme. Out with a pastor who is actually in your church. In with being cool, in with being gruff, in with the occasional coarse language. While this simplifies it a bit, you get the idea if you see Driscoll in this stage of his ministry essentially taking the seeker sensitive movement to the grunge community of Seattle. MacArthur even labeled his approach to ministry “Grunge Christianity.” While he didn’t mean it as a compliment, that’s the way it was taken, which pretty much says it all.

Over the next few years Driscoll gained national influence as other Christian leaders propped him up. John Piper brought him to his own pastor’s conference as the key-note speaker. The Gospel Coalition made him a board member. He was able to reach a wider and wider audience.

By 2009 it was obvious that the doctrine of sanctification was seriously neglected in the theology that was coming out of Acts 29 and specifically Driscoll’s preaching. In April of 2009 John MacArthur wrote a series of blog posts on Driscoll’s preaching (The Rape of Solomon’s Song)—which to my knowledge is the last time he has said anything publicly about Driscoll. This was the year I gave up talking about/reading/listening to Mark Driscoll. By that point it was either obvious to people what the danger was, or there was really no helping it.

Unfortunately, also in April of 2009 Driscoll preached at the Gospel Coalition’s national conference. And even after that other leaders and institutions continued to expose their people to Driscoll’s leadership and preaching. He did a marriage conference at Liberty University. He started a conference with Rick Warren. He featured on Family Life’s Men’s curriculum. In other words, the groups that Driscoll was lambasting in his books 10 years earlier were eager to have him, and equally eager to expose their people to his teaching.

And Driscoll in turn used his increased influence to expose his new followers—including The Gospel Coalition crew—to TD Jakes. Driscoll’s subsequent claim that Jakes’ modalism could be considered orthodoxy appeared to be the last straw with the TGC crowd though, and Driscoll left their council a short time later.

We can skip the bit about plagiarism, or his stunt at Grace Church, or no-compete clauses for pastors, or buying his way onto the New York Times bestseller list with church money, etc., and jump to present day. Driscoll has been removed from Acts 29, and “charges have been filed” against him within his own church. I have no idea what that means, but it sounds bad. So bad that he is stepping down for six weeks.

Which brings us back to the blog/tweet that we should be hopeful for Driscoll’s repentance. While I am always in favor of repentance, and  remain hopeful for it in everyone, the call for it here is exceptionally tone deaf.

That’s because to pastors outside the Christian-rock-star echo chamber, the issue has never really been one of “will Driscoll repent?” Rather the issue has always been one of “will Christian leaders recognize how foolish it was to expose their people to Driscoll’s preaching and leadership?”

That remains my question today for those that lent him their pulpit and their audience. Looking back on the whole decade (2004-2014), do those leaders (Piper, Wilson, Liberty, Denis Rainey, D. A. Carson, and so on) see that they had a role to play in this? Douglas Wilson–who is one of the Christian leaders who helped Driscoll grow his audience–wrote that he is concerned that some people jumped on the Driscoll train because it was the cool ticket in town, and now they are jumping off only because it is the new cool. To which I say: when the train is on fire, of course it is cool to jump off–after all, everyone is doing it.

But my real question to Wilson is: “Do you see your responsibility for directing people to the train to begin with?”

When the credits roll on this generation of American Christianity, there will be this interesting segment in the 2000’s where a famous Christian essentially mocked sanctification, and instead of being rebuked he was promoted. Obviously this ended poorly for the famous Christian (and his church), but what of those who bought the ticket and took the ride? What of those who sold the tickets? Is it too much to wonder if they will say more than “we sure hope he experiences a sense of hope in this time?” Wilson says that is the best he has to offer—but I don’t buy it.

Specifically, we need more than a simple, “I like Driscoll, and I hope things work out well for him.” I’d like to hear them say, “the biblical qualifications for elders are important, and we made a judgment mistake in holding someone out as a Christian leader who did not meet them.”

Yes, I hope Driscoll comes out feeling like a new man. But more than that, I want the evangelical leaders who were largely responsible for shaping the last decade of Christian leadership to understand the importance of the biblical qualifications for pastors. I want them to see that while the Driscoll Drama may have happened anyway, that doesn’t mean they needed to sell tickets.

(I encourage everyone to read Eric Davis’ post a few weeks ago—there he offers a few necessary lessons from this ordeal)

Jesse Johnson

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Jesse is the Teaching Pastor at Immanuel Bible Church in Springfield, VA.
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  • Jack Dove

    Good article. Biblical discernment is so important, especially among the church’s leaders.

    • http://thecripplegate.com Jesse Johnson

      Thanks Jack. Everyone is supposed to have discernment, but *especially* the church’s leaders.

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  • Johnny

    But you know, I think my pastor could benefit from transitioning from wearing a suit to wearing a Mickey Mouser t-shirt…

    • http://thecripplegate.com Jesse Johnson

      I’m pretty happy with my suit though…

  • Wil Harding

    again I ask – where is the repentance from those who affirmed him all these years?

    • http://thecripplegate.com Jesse Johnson

      That really is the question of the week Wil. Thanks for your comment.

  • http://michaelcoughlin.net/ Michael Coughlin

    Amen.

  • Putin Timeout

    There are many similarities between Mark Driscol and Ergun Caner. They both came prominent in the early to mid 2000’s.They presented an alternative approach to ministry and really clicked with the not so typical Christian crowd. Many pastors, churches, Christian institutions, publishers, etc. saw this as a good thing and endorsed Caner’s/Driscol’s ministries. As different scandals were made known about Driscol and Caner many people defended them instead of holding them accountable. As more and more questionable things were made known about them christian leaders have been hesitant to call them out on their obvious sin.

    Instead of stepping down from the pulpit these men just get different job titles, uninvited from speaking engagements, and tweeted “apologies”. They are put in a temporary timeout instead of being indefinitely grounded. I would say both Driscol’s and Caner’s most obvious sin is pride. They have never FULLY ADMITTED their wrong doing since they think so highly of themselves.

    What role does a local pastor have when it comes to calling out well known Christians who are intentionally doing questionable things? Does a local pastor just ignore Caner’s/Driscol’s actions when they know their flock is greatly influenced by these men? Does the local pastor say they are praying for their repentance? Does the local pastor demand their repentance? Does the local pastor address issues like this during a typical Sunday morning service or do they address it at a different time?

    • http://thecripplegate.com Jesse Johnson

      I agree that there are similarities b/w the way evangelicals responded to both Caner and MD. I’m reminded of Phil Johnson’s article a few years ago on our tendincy to embrace the fake:

      http://teampyro.blogspot.com/2010/07/evangelical-bunko-artists.html

      As for the responsibility pastors have, I think it is to shepherd their flocks. I’ve never been persuaded that it is wise to deal with these issues from the pulpit. I am in no position to demand anyone’s repentance unless I have a relationship with them. At least that’s how I approach this. I want to guard my flock, and encourage those under my influence to stay away from what is harmful, and feed on what is good. I think Q/A’s or men’s meetings or those type of venues would provide a better way of dealing with this kind of issue than the pulpit. And obviously I think blogs can be helpful too.

    • John

      Absolutely absurd comparison. Ergun Caner lied overtly, publicly, for years, about specific and major claims of his testimony, to the point of spouting gibberish while claiming it was Arabic. And he built his career on that. You can’t point to anything comparable with MD.

      • http://thecripplegate.com Jesse Johnson

        The comparison that is valid is the way evangelicals respond when a “rising star” has some pretty serious problems. That Pyro post is a great illustraion of that comparison (w/o even using MD’s name!)

  • Brad

    “Yes, I hope Driscoll comes out feeling like a new man. But more than that, I want the evangelical leaders who were largely responsible for shaping the last decade of Christian leadership to understand the importance of the biblical qualifications for pastors. I want them to see that while the Driscoll Drama may have happened anyway, that doesn’t mean they needed to sell tickets.”

    Praise. The. Lord. So thankful someone is saying this. I, too, am hoping for Driscoll’s repentance, but shockingly few have been willing to say that he’s not been qualified to preach from the beginning (likely because they were aboard the train you and Wilson speak of, and who wants to admit they were wrong these days?).

    • http://thecripplegate.com Jesse Johnson

      Thanks for your comment Brad. Jared WIlson at TGC blog had a post a few years ago (after the elephant room) explaining why he was getting off the train. That’s the closest I’ve come to seeing something like that.

  • 2ruthmatters

    How sad that the sheep can see what the shepherds cannot. Wasn’t J. Mac. the only high profile pastor wise and bold enough to publicly speak out against Driscoll being unfit for leadership?

    • http://thecripplegate.com Jesse Johnson

      I’m sure there were some others too (Mohler comes to mind, along with Challies). I’m sure there were others. The problem is that the lines were clear back in 2004, and again in 2009. So people spoke out then. But they don’t keep talking about. So its hard to know who was where when, if you know what I mean.

      • Doc B (J B Boren)

        Don’t forget the Pyro boys. They have been patiently talking about this for seven years (or more).

        • http://thecripplegate.com Jesse Johnson

          Yeah. I’m grateful for them.

  • Tim Cantrell

    Amen Jesse!

    • http://thecripplegate.com Jesse Johnson

      Thanks for reading Tim.

  • Rick

    Couple of observations… Great article and points about the promotion of Driscoll and who really sold tickets…

    I would add

    But my real question to Wilson is: When will he repent of his Federal Vision heresy and when will those that love him so much call him out on it instead of playing mental and hermeneutical gymnastics to make is unbiblical view of justification sound biblical…

    Will those that defend him , likewise repent of how they sold tickets…??

    • http://thecripplegate.com Jesse Johnson

      Fair question. I love Wilson’s writing style, and his insight especially on the intersection of faith and politics. I am not post-mil, covenental, or infant baptist, which are all necessary parts of his federal vision. So my beef w/federal vision isn’t well developed, as I get off his theological train long before it gets there. The links I’ve provided to his posts don’t promote that, and I’ve never encountered anyone getting sucked into postmil stuff because of me saying how much I like his writing. In fact, we have posted quite a lot here about why we are premil. So for that reason I don’t feel like I’ve ever sold tickets to the Wilson show. i think it is possible to appreciate and enjoy other believers, even those that love the WC!

      • Rick

        I agree on your statement of

        ” i think it is possible to appreciate and enjoy other believers, even those that love the WC!”

        I am not post-mill either, I am a Reformed baptist, but whether someone as you say is…

        “post-mil, covenental, or infant baptist, which are all necessary parts of his federal vision”

        Adheres to all or any of these does not change the face of what Federal Vision is, a denial of justification by faith alone..

        So if A+B+C = D means denial of justification by faith alone (Federal Vision) then whether you or I subscribe to A+B+C = D is of no consequence to us personally , I would agree… yet it still would apply to the person (DW in this case) and would make him outside orthodoxy on justification..

        Not trying to say anyone is guilty by association… But pointing out if someone is an adherent to a heretical view, whether we like his writing style or his view that relate to the intersection of faith and politics should not matter…

        The bigger issue is Justification by faith alone… When we lend credence to certain people as we have seen with Driscoll because maybe, maybe in certain areas they are spot on (I use one examle, many gave Driscoll a pass because he “promoted” reformed theology to a “new generation”)

        I gave him no pass on that at all… Nor should we give Wilson a pass because he writes well or understand the intersection of faith and politics…

        Thanks

        • http://thecripplegate.com Jesse Johnson

          Got it.
          And with that, let’s end the Federal Vision tangent. I think it was appropriate for this thread so far, but any more would take it off topic. Thanks Rick/Mitch.

      • Mitch

        “The links I’ve provided to his posts don’t promote that, and I’ve never encountered anyone getting sucked into postmil stuff because of me saying how much I like his writing. In fact, we have posted quite a lot here about why we are premil. So for that reason I don’t feel like I’ve ever sold tickets to the Wilson show.”

        I fear you may be contradicting yourself a bit here. Would it be OK for one of the leaders you mentioned to invite Driscoll despite his views on sanctification, Song of Solomon or his other baggage so long as his presentation at that particular event was grounded in scripture?

        Or would it be OK if those leaders didn’t think anyone went down the wrong path due to his teaching on a subject not addressed at that event?

        Just looking for a bit of clarity. Thanks!

        • http://thecripplegate.com Jesse Johnson

          Sure Mitch, and I see how that is confusing. Maybe it is a double standard. I don’t think so, but I see how/why others might. To me, Wilson is definitely qualfied to be a pastor, as a lifetime of faithfulness behind him, and I respect him. I disagree with him on slavery/postmil/infant baptism/covenentalism (that’s a lot when I type it out…but I dont’ think that disqualifies him from ministry.
          On the other hand, the stuff with MD gets right to the nature of pastoral ministry, it was obvious and evident, and it made no sense for others to prop that up and point people to it. IT was a train that was going to crash, so why ask your people to get on it?

  • Mitch

    Jesse, do you believe these church leaders sinned by continuing to invite and promote Driscoll despite the many red flags you mentioned?

    • http://thecripplegate.com Jesse Johnson

      Well, this post here is I guess how I would answer that (substitute MD for McD).

      http://thecripplegate.com/chandler-is-baffled-and-appalled/

      • Mitch

        Thanks! This addresses heresy rather than sin. But since you don’t refer specifically to sin in either case, I’ll assume you don’t think it is. Feel free to correct me!

        • http://thecripplegate.com Jesse Johnson

          Yeah, I guess it gets back to the old question–if somethingn is unwise, is it also sin? I mean there are levels in this kind of thing. W/o wanting to fall into a rabinic rabbit hole, some sins violate commandments, and some actions are perhaps sinful because they are not wise. I”m not even talking about this case here, but in general there are actions that are not against a specific commandment, but that also are not the best choice. The word sin can be broad (anything missing the mark) or more narrow of violating a specific command.

  • http://parkingspace23.com/ Matt Tarr

    Thanks Jesse! You said it all… I’ve been waiting to see this kind of article! I think it exposes the real issue(s) at hand.

    • http://thecripplegate.com Jesse Johnson

      Thanks Matt.

  • Larry Miles

    Very courageous, Jesse. The Lord bless you. Your statement about, “protecting the flock of God,” was very poignant.

    • http://thecripplegate.com Jesse Johnson

      Yeah, that to me has been the real issue. The main goal of a shepherd is to protect the sheep. Let’s not fall asleep with that.

      • Wayne MacKirdy

        …I would add that the main goal of the Shepherd is to feed the sheep…a by-product of which is protecting the sheep as the are built up in the faith. I am currently on chasing the lack-of-discernment-in-the-church gig in my teaching. Solid expositional teaching, ala MacArthur, Lawson, etc, is critical to being an armorer for God, helping people on the Armor of God!

      • Sandi Lee

        But there really is no flock in “flat-screen churches”

  • http://suzlt.blogspot.com/ Suzanne T

    Thanks so much for putting this together, Jesse.

    There but for God’s grace and providence do each of us go.

    One question I have struggled with these past several years with Driscoll as well as other questionable leaders in evangelicalism being propped-up, whether largely or subtley, is why do some see the problems almost right away and others don’t? Especially when the problems become so blatantly apparent. How can such compromise be made in the face of what is so clear in scripture? Is this part of the strong delusion God sends upon the world?

    I also wonder if, that even more important than the issues themselves with problem-leaders that are bound to arise (and fall) in evangelicalism, is how the rest of us are reacting? I cringe when I see the gloating and other unhelpful responses. I myself am guilty and need reminding of this–that whether in our hearts, within our local fellowships or in the public square we need to keep our responses–our minds in check, never forgetting who is the very Author of even our own understanding and discernment of these things. For what do we have that we did not receive? (1Cor. 4:7)

    My prayer is for all involved, for those on the front lines (including Mark) and for those in the recesses who are hurting.

    • http://thecripplegate.com Jesse Johnson

      Well, Piper for one answered that question back when he invited MD the first time. He basically said that he saw the problems, but that he thought by having him preach Piper would gain the ability to mentor/disciple him. At the time it may have sounded reasonable enough. But time of course went on differently (and Piper retired from ministry too, so there is also that).
      Thanks for your thoughtful comment Suzanne.

      • http://suzlt.blogspot.com/ Suzanne T

        Not a very satisfactory answer, but I can see where Piper was hoping for the best and acted on that. I wonder if he knew then about the Scotland debacle? I can’t imagine such a “mistake” practically being overlooked. Driscoll’s subsequent apology was, well..a joke. All the benefits-of-doubt proved costly.

        That’s where my question lies–how some can not see right through someone like MD? I don’t think we’ll ever be able to answer that, only God knows the deep things. I’ll just insert the word anomaly here.

        It is inestimably unfortunate MD did not heed Piper’s or any other warnings from the godly men who tried to help him, and indirectly the flock under his care.

        Thanks Jesse, and thanks for all the attention and work you’re putting into this thread (!)

  • Sammy L

    I believe those who criticized Driscoll loved him more than those who enabled them without correcting him. Imagine 5-6 years ago someone who invited him to the conferences correcting him, I believe the trajectory would have been different and Driscoll would/might have been a gift to the church.

    But instead even today everyone uses the pop-psychology definition of love and not even tell him in a real biblical loving manner to repent.

    Did Phil Johnson/others love(redemptively) Driscoll more by telling the truth or the guys at TGC/others?

    In my mind the answer is very clear.

    • Rich

      Phil Johnson (and others I’ve observed, particularly in the GCC/Masters crowd) has been everything except loving towards Driscoll. Every single time Phil brings up Driscoll it’s in a form of mockery and disgust. There is zero love there.

      I cannot for the life of me understand why we can’t let this go yet?! Driscoll is a sinner in need of help, just like any of us. I admire Piper for his example of being prayerful for Driscoll during this time.

      • brad

        Good points Rich!

        The key is to take the truth that Phil Johnson/GCC/the Master’s crowd teaches and discard the tone of mockery and anger, when that mockery and anger is inappropriate.

        I actually think that Phil Johnson is very similar to Mark Driscoll in many ways (clever, super-intelligent, combative, prophetic, sarcastic, love the Bible and Jesus, opinionated, etc). I think they are so similar at the core that they get on each other’s nerves.

        • elainebitt

          If you cannot discard the mockery, don’t read them. Easy.

          • brad

            I think Rich’s point is that mockery is sinful and needs to be rebuked, not ignored.

          • elainebitt

            He could do that on his own time. This blog post is not about those who mock [the "untouchable" for some] D.

        • Sandi Lee

          Every opportunity? Yes, Jesse finally broke his silence after 10 years.

    • http://thecripplegate.com Jesse Johnson

      Thats a good question. I’d be quick to point out that the TGC crowd may very well have made strong appeals to MD privately, or even as a group, and those appeals were not blogged about or put on-line. So don’t mistake their relative public silence as unloving to MD.
      My point is that on the front end of things, their promotion of MD was unloving to their own people.

      –BTW-I deleted a few replies that also went after someone who–again–was not even named in the post above. Strike two.

  • http://www.melissacollins.biz/ Melissa Collins

    Good article.

  • http://www.carlarolfe.com/ Carla Rolfe

    Very good points. Thank you.

  • Heather

    Jesse, I understand why you, as a pastor, need to do what you do to protect your flock, and I respect you for that firm standing and pray we can have more leaders like this today.

    However, as a simple church member, I can’t help but have compassion for Mark Driscoll right now. Yes, there is much of his teaching that I disagree with, but that doesn’t change the fact that he is my brother in Christ. I have no doubt that the Lord, by His grace, has used Mark Driscoll to bring many people to repentance and salvation through Christ. I’m thinking of those people right now. How is all of this going to effect their walk with the Lord? As these people look to all the other evangelical leaders right now, I hope they will see the grace and love of the Lord Jesus Christ in them and see these leaders act like Christ Himself would act towards Mark Driscoll. Perhaps they are more dependent on Mark Driscoll than they are on the Lord Jesus Christ, which is a scary thing. I think these people need to be strengthened IN THE LORD. I don’t believe in Mark Driscoll, as he is still a sinner yet saved by grace, but I do believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and believe that He does forgive, transform, and use any one of His servants, including Mark Driscoll.

    I am going to be praying for Mark Driscoll, as a brother in Christ. We are in a spiritual warfare and I know Satan will not only try to destroy any witness of the Gospel that came from Mark Driscoll, but he will also try to destroy Mark Driscoll himself, and I want to pray against that.

    All of this brought 2 Cor 2:3-11 to my mind. Yes, Mark Driscoll caused grief to others, I just pray that we, in return, can forgive and comfort him “lest perhaps such a one be swallowed up with too much sorrow.” And then Paul said, “I urge you to reaffirm your love to him.” 2 Cor 2:8. Truly, nothing could help bring about a more genuine repentance and transforming of Mark Driscoll’s heart than this kind of Christ-like love?

    • MKulnir

      “Yes, Mark Driscoll caused grief to others, I just pray that we, in return, can forgive and comfort him ‘lest perhaps such a one be swallowed up with too much sorrow.'”

      What are you talking about? The Apostle Paul, in your scripture reference, was referring to not keeping a man under the church’s imposed punishment for longer than necessary: Paul wrote, “This punishment which was inflicted by the majority is sufficient for such a man.” – II Corinthians 2:6

      Driscoll has yet to be called by the leaders of his church to repent of anything. In fact, when charges were recently brought to light by an acting Mars Hill elder, Dave Kraft, they were all summarily dismissed without any investigation by Driscoll’s Board of Advisors and Accountability (BOAA). Despite his drama-filled mea culpas, Driscoll has never publicly confessed specific sins or asked forgiveness from those he has wronged. No form of “punishment” or discipline whatsoever was ever imposed on him by the church or its leadership.

      • Heather

        I understand what you’re getting at. It seems to me that, for Mark Driscoll, he will not only have to take the punishment from his own church, but he also has to take it from millions of Christians (who don’t know him), around the world who are criticizing him through the internet. So, yes, that concerns me. “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.” 1 Cor 10:12.

        I know he put himself in the public eye, so everyone feels they have the right to judge and criticize him, but I don’t see how that will help bring him to repentance and turn him to Christ? I’m sure some people are thinking that this “tough love” will help knock some sense into his head and bring him to repentance, but would if it backfires on everyone and Mark Driscoll abandons the Lord completely and becomes a flaming atheist, or worst, commits suicide? I know that may sound dramatic, but I’ve seen it before and I don’t underestimate the dark works of Satan. I’ve seen Christians be swallowed up with too much sorrow from the hands of other Christians, and I especially wouldn’t be surprised to see it from someone in a position like what Mark Driscoll is in right now. I know the discipline is supposed to come from his elders and church (which will hopefully be followed by a genuine repentance on his part and forgiveness, comfort, and love from the church’s part), but I don’t think it should be coming from us on the internet. All I was meaning to say is that, regardless of how wrong Mark Driscoll was, he should SEE and KNOW Christ’s forgiveness, grace, and mercy through the public testimony of our full hearts of love and forgiveness for him…but the true test of obedience to forgive, comfort, and love him rests with the people who know him: the people of Mars Hill Church. I will pray for both them and Mark Driscoll.

        “By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.” 1 John 3:16-18

  • http://stowellbrown.blogspot.com/ stowellbrown

    I never heard MD preach or read any of his books but my son did attend his church one time. He didn’t like MD’s “power” thing or something like that. I trusted my son’s discernment.

  • bra

    My only push-back would be that God accomplished some amazing things through Driscoll. I can’t tell you how many men and families I have met that have been totally transformed through Driscoll’s ministry (I’m talking about men and women who were crazy sinners who became graceful new creations in Christ). So, I am not really against those who “sold tickets” to the Driscoll show.

    And I think God is doing something wonderful through all of this. And I can see how the gospel of grace is really being lived out through Driscoll’s life and ministry.

    • Jordan Standridge

      Philippians 1:15 Some, to be sure, are preaching Christ even [m]from envy and strife, but some also from good will;16 the latter do it out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel; 17 the former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition [o]rather than from pure motives, thinking to cause me distress in my [p]imprisonment. 18 What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice.

      I’ll tell you what, God was using these men to preach the gospel, and Paul actually believed some could be saved through their preaching, or else there would be no reason for him to rejoice. I’ll also tell you that these men were disqualified and should have been kicked out of their pulpits. And any person of influence who encouraged these people and advanced their ministry was being at best very unwise.

      • brad

        From the text you quoted, It seems to me that Paul rejoiced that Christ was being proclaimed. Why not submit to God’s Word and rejoice that Driscoll proclaims Christ and God has used him to save many?

        The deeper issue is probably this: I would also say that Driscoll doesn’t proclaim Christ out of selfish motives or to cause others distress. He genuinely wants people to come to Jesus. He actually does love Jesus, unbelievers, and the church.

        • http://thecripplegate.com Jesse Johnson

          Thanks Brad and Jordan. I’m fine rejoicing with any good that has come from MD’s ministry. Obviously God uses all kinds of people–even unqualified ones! And clearly one person’s sin doesn’t nullify any good work he has done. Nothing spiritual is ever nullified.
          But at the same time, the ends don’t justify the means. Just because God can even use a donkey…well that dosn’t mean we should promote the preaching of donkeys.

        • Eric Davis

          Brad:

          Praise God he works w/ sovereign competency. Even so, we might also let John Owen’s comment on 21st century evangelicalism shepherd us:

          “Notwithstanding the seeming usefulness of men who serve the providence of God in their generations, I could easily manifest that the world & the church might want [unholy men], and that, indeed, in themselves they are good for nothing.”

      • elainebitt

        Paul believed some could get saved because “Christ” was being preached, that is, the true Gospel. The heart of the one preaching was what was wrong.

        Sometimes people use this passage to excuse the preaching and teaching of a false Gospel.

        The question then is: what gospel was MD preaching/teaching?

    • Greg Pickle

      Don’t forget about those who have been hardened (further) against the gospel by MD’s antics (i.e. New York Times readers), or those whose faith depended upon him and now is in shambles. Not to mention his low view of holiness, which in turn creates ungodly churches (no matter how “orthodox”), which in turn repels unbelievers instead of drawing them.

      Who would deny that people have come to true saving faith – even mature faith – as a result in some way of his ministry? But to focus on that is to miss the issue, and overlooks others in the process.

      There may well be some real fruit from what he has done, but it hasn’t come without massive destruction in its wake.

  • Marcia Kirby Rios

    I cried reading this!!! You nailed it Jesse! I have been saying the same things for a few years. Driscoll and Co. make it seem like sanctification is just about the worst thing that can happen to a person! Thank you for writing this. And may YOUR TRIBE increase!

  • bad boaz

    You people act like this guy is a stark, raving heretic. And now, a genuine preacher of grace, and the all sufficient work of Christ and His Cross has to step down because some self-righteous grandstanders (hi, Phil Johnson!) didn’t like that he wasn’t a nice guy, sometimes yelled at sensitive, thin-skinned people, and occasionally used what amounted to common street slang (hi, Dr. J. Mac). As far his “unethical behaviours”-hey, I’d rather a guy cheat to spread the gospel rather than a heretic do all the “right things” to spread heresy. And I mean that.

    Someone answer for me: where has he denied the deity of Christ? Or the authority of Scripture? Where has he denied the Godhead? What essential of the faith has he erred in? Has been unfaithful to his wife(who ironically was unfaithful to him during their courtship/engagement)?

    Discernment is one thing, but y’all are overdoing it.

    • http://www.parkingspace23.com/ Karl Heitman

      “What essential of the faith has he erred in?” Elder qualifications (1 Tim 3:1-7; Titus 1:6-9). The accusations alone call into question his suitability for being an elder, let alone a pastor with national influence. This is not about him being a heretic. No one has said or even implied that. It’s not about his standing before God, or even his relationship with other Christians. It’s about the damage that’s been done in the name of Christ and to his followers, many who were encouraged to jump on his train which was heading towards a cliff.

      • bad boaz

        I’d argue he hasnt erred in all these either, though he himself might say differently. But Titus 1:9 says:

        9 He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.

        Again, where has he erred in even this? And if he hasn’t erred in even this, and you agree he isn’t an heretic, how then can he possibly be leading God’s people astray?

        • http://www.ibfellowship.org/ John Chester

          Are you saying he is well thought of by outsiders (1 Timothy 3:7) or closed to charges of debauchery or insubordination (Titus 1:6)? If not (and judging from the coverage in The Stranger, then the Seattle TV Stations, then the NYT and the WaPo the answer is no) then that alone makes him unqualified for eldership. Has he been quick tempered or arrogant; has he been self controlled, holy and disciplined (Titus 1:8)?There is a reason the character qualifications come before the doctrinal one.

    • Andrew

      Mr. Boaz,

      I think Jesse answered most of your questions very well.

      Heresy is not the only problem to be addressed by Shepherds. Other sin needs to be confronted too.

      To answer your questions:

      1) Where has he denied the deity of Christ? He flirted with endorsing a modalist.

      2) Or the authority of Scripture? HIs misuse of pastoral authority is undermining to the authority of Scripture. Downplaying sanctification. Preaching crass/vulgar messages. Poor ecclesiology. Etc.

      3) Where has he denied the Godhead? He essentially gave heresy a free pass by promoting TD Jakes. Jakes denies the Godhead.

      4) What essential of the faith has he erred in? Again, Trinitarianism. Also- failing to ‘Love his neighbor as himself’ would appear to be the main error of his leadership.

      5) Has been unfaithful to his wife? No one has ever questioned his faithfulness to his bride on any of the blogs I have read.

      I think most people would agree that Driscoll is not a heretic, but a brother.

      The church at large is now confronting a brother who they believe to be in the wrong. Christ taught us to do so.

      • Jerod

        Andrew,
        Right. Great responses. In addition to #2, his claim to receive direct revelations and visions from God also puts a stake in the heart of the authority of Scripture. And not only did he claim to receive visions, but particular visions of gross sex acts of people in his congregation.

      • Sandi Lee

        Andrew, I agree with your points but would like to emphasize that Driscoll is not only a Christian brother but is a pastor. His responsibility is greater than most and he lost the credibility as a pastor a long time ago. Driscoll’s attempts at shepherding a flock via flat-screen, is an example of how removed he has been from the sheep. The misappropriation of funds, the sexualization of scripture, inappropriate behavior (The Strange Fire conference), yelling at the congregation, crass language, etc have disqualified him from holding the office of elder.

  • MKulnir

    Piper. Where was he when one of the Mars Hill elders who stood up to Driscoll appealed to Piper to intervene?

    At least publically, Piper never called Driscoll out when he had the opportunity, and then Driscoll at some point appeared to have abandoned his “mentorship” with Piper and started to associate with big hitters like T.D. Jakes and James MacDonald, as Piper did not rule over a sufficiently large enough empire to provide counsel to Driscoll for taking his organization “to the next level.” Piper’s response was to overlook Driscoll’s megalomania and instead proclaimed to the world, “I love Mark Driscoll’s theology.”

    It was like watching a jilted girlfriend standing up for her abusive boyfriend, hoping to rekindle the romance she thought they once had.

    And where were Driscoll’s elders who at one time had the legal authority to keep him in check? Granted, they admittedly were subjected to extreme pressure to abdicate their legal authority as directors of the church and voted for new bylaws placing that authority into Driscoll’s hands. But now almost two dozen of them have come forward with “charges” against Driscoll that they are impotent to do anything about, without admitting their own culpability in bringing about the conditions that led to the train catching on fire.

  • Larry Miles

    People are readily crying “compassion” when bombastic, so-called spiritual leaders, fizzle out. Not one , to “kick a man,” when he is down, but the Bible is clear as to what the position should be when encountering a danger to the flock of God. Avoid him. Just because a “preacher,” seems to have a “skill-set,” in communicating the Bible, but uses, rude, crude, over the top, language and displays, narcissistic behaviors… that “type” of preacher creates, what we are now dealing with.

    • http://thecripplegate.com Jesse Johnson

      Its always worrisome when preaching gets reduced to a skill set. Thanks for your wise words Larry.

  • q

    “That’s because to pastors outside the Christian-rock-star echo
    chamber, the issue has never really been one of “will Driscoll repent?”
    Rather the issue has always been one of “will Christian leaders
    recognize how foolish it was to expose their people to Driscoll’s
    preaching and leadership?””

    This presupposes that the “pastors outside the Christian-rock-star echo chamber” have a Biblical understanding of what a Biblical eldership looks like. The immediate, practical issue that it seems surrounds Driscoll’s departure is summarized in the reference to the “no-compete” clause:

    “We all recognize the requirement in Hebrews 13:17 for the church to
    obey and submit to their leaders, but this passage was never intended to
    give license to the elders to use it as a hammer to manipulate, control
    or to rule out of fear and intimidation. In contrast, we have the
    biblical mandate in I Peter 5:3…not to be domineering over those in your
    charge, but being examples to the flock.”

    It would seem that many of those crying for Driscoll’s repentance would themselves be guilty of the “CEO” model of ecclesiology rather than the Biblical model of an equal plurality of elders…

    We need at least a nationwide call for some self-examination and a humble submission to the Bible in this matter…

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  • http://www.ibfellowship.org/ John Chester

    I think this is spot on. Whether it is MD or any number of others too often the ones who gave a platform never repent and make the same mistake on the next cool guy who is gathering steam.

    • http://veritasdomain.wordpress.com/ SLIMJIM

      Let’s hope these guys repent and go slower with who they invite to their pulpit

      • John

        Repent of what exactly? Please find a specific scripture that has been violated by a specific, documented action.

        For example, if a blogger accuses someone (who it is now popular to pile on) that he is “out with regenerate church membership” but that person actually wrote that the first mark of a true church is regenerate church membership, then the blogger has broken the 9th commandment (Ex. 20:16) by bearing false witness and needs to repent. Know anyone like that?

  • http://thecripplegate.com Jesse Johnson

    I deleted a comment because it started by calling someone who was not even mentioned in this blog a derogatory name. I also deleted everyone’s comment who replied to him, even though some of those responses were quite good (thjey just didnt’ make sense with the initial comment deleted).

    • Sandi Lee

      I commend you for that while simultaneously am disappointed since my comments were especially brilliant.
      (Just kidding)

    • Rich

      Why were my comments above deleted? Do you delete any comments that you feel don’t support your opinions? The only reason I ask on the comment thread is because I don’t have any other way of contacting you.

      • http://thecripplegate.com Jesse Johnson

        jarbitro at gmail or jarbitro on twitter.

  • http://veritasdomain.wordpress.com/ SLIMJIM

    Jesse Johnson, this is a very good post. Very balanced and hopefully one that bring some soul searching for those who sold tickets

    • John

      except that he made a false claim: that Driscoll rejected the doctrine of regenerate church membership. And others. Why didn’t he do his home-work before publicly accusing MD?

  • Case

    Jesse I think part of the reason that Driscoll was so accepted (Pastors) is because he has reformed leanings and I think many “Doctrines of Grace” folks often give a pass to people who speak about the “Doctrines of Grace”. This is a great danger I see in the church is that people think correct theology equals maturity or sometimes salvation. I personally have had a few men in the local church I attend, they are Calvinists and I believe they have had no heart change at all. They could teach a Bible study, tell others about reformed theology and recite the Gospel. There facebooks reveal a different side of life. Many times “Doctrines of Grace” people are more concerned about the 5 points then how a man loves his wife, how a man loves his children. How God has changed him from a old life to a new life. In saying this I believe in the “Doctrines of Grace” but theology does not save God’s saves through repentance and faith. Your thoughts?

    • Case

      Thanks Jesse for the post!

    • elainebitt

      Theology does save. It’s through theology that we know God, and who He is. I mean, even the simplest proclamation of the Gospel – Christ died for our sins and rose again – is full of theology.

      • Case

        Ok, that is fair but an intellectual understanding of theology does not always mean salvation. Right? James 2:19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!

        • elainebitt

          I agree with you now. =)

  • Aaron Carpenter

    I’ve been trying to sort out my thoughts on this whole thing for about…oh, 10 years or so. Thank you for saying it like this.

    • John

      Sadly, this isn’t “saying it like it is”. Note above about the false claim on regenerate church membership. And there are other false accusations made in the article.

      This appears to be opportunism.

  • Greg Pickle

    People’s response to Driscoll has seemed to me simply to be a reflection of their theology. To those who valued “one thing”, such as “the gospel” (TGC) or “Desiring God” (Piper), if he was in line with that one thing, he was promoted. In fact, to illustrate this further: in Piper’s case, this is why he has no problem working with radical pragmatists like the Passion crew – they share his “big God” theology, at least in theory, so everything is cool.

    On the other hand, those who care about everything in Scripture (MacArthur et. al.) or those who are concerned with all that a church should be and not just one element of theology (i.e. 9Marks), Driscoll had less-than-zero appeal.

    The negative or apathetic response to guys like MacArthur calling out Driscoll years ago is unsurprising because MacArthur is viewed with a tinge of skepticism for the very thing that helped him see through Driscoll from the get-go: he’s a “precisionist.” He cares about every detail of Scripture and it determines everything. There’s a level of precision and carefulness with the Scriptures and ministry that he displays, which is reflected by the guys who blog on this site as well, that doesn’t allow guys like Driscoll to slip through, over, or around his biblical filters. To many, this comes across as being a cranky old-school guy; in reality, it’s just thoroughly-biblical thinking.

    The result of it is something I saw on a comment thread a few years back (I think about the Elephant Room fiasco) saying that the Team Pyro guys could tell people “there’s a weed, pull it” before others even knew any plants were growing. Biblical discernment vs. non-discernment is the issue here, and I think it’s hard for people to admit that they didn’t (don’t?) have it.

    • http://suzlt.blogspot.com/ Suzanne T

      Thanks for these clarifications. That was very well put!

  • John Allman

    So you are the one who was so wise insightful and discerning. You never “sold tickets” and shame on those who did, it’s all their fault. They created a monster by giving him air time or pulpit time and you knew it was a mistake when they did it. Sorry, but this just seems like you taking shots at some outside your particular section of the camp. This is not helpful at all.

    • Otter2

      So John, while warnings against Driscoll have been sounded for years and those sounding the warnings were denigrated and ignored but now found well grounded, there should be not criticism pointing out prominent pastors who through social media but worse through conferences excused all the Driscoll’s disqualifying traits? Sorry for the run on sentence.

      They did create a monster. They gave him the power to become the “brand” and with the brand to usurp all power over all at MHC. I should know, I finally fled the idolatry created in the building of a celebrity pastor. Yes, shame on them all who allowed it to happen. They absolutely sold tickets wanting that edginess. But hey, I was just one of those blue haired old women in dress on Sundays that Mark could wait to rid of. And I’m not bitter — I’m collateral damage and a case study of listening to warnings and not listening to the latest fad.

      • John Allman

        Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a fan of Driscoll either. I just don’t think it’s fair to accuse others of being “ticket sellers”. As I wrote earlier it just looks like a case of taking shots at continuationists or non dispensationalists. These men obviously agreed with Driscoll in many areas and had fellowship with him. Regardless he and he alone is ultimately responsible for his own behavior. You don’t know what was said in private and by whom. I never cared for Driscoll. Men I respect and admire did associate with him. I trust that they spoke truth to him and chalłenged him as a brother in Christ. That is between them and The Lord.

        • Otter2

          Being in his church for 9 years I watched what unfolded when he was first embraced by Piper and then on the council of TGC (for what that’s worth now) and all the other accolades. I heard what he boasted from the pulpit about his own glory and how men with bigger churches than he had reached out and were praying for him. I also heard him say that he would not listen to a pastor whose church was not bigger than MH. “His” church; “their” church — it stopped being “all about Jesus” a long time ago.

          It’s absolutely fair to call those who could, but didn’t stop him, ticket sellers. Theology is meaningless in this case. Who cares? He meant when he said he broke noses and threw people under the bus. If he was buggering little boys would he have his defenders? Of course not. So why is brutally beating the sheep a lesser sin? He’s disqualified. Always was and he said he was unqualified to be a pastor, but somehow decided he was.

          I know what he said to friends and then carried it out, ruining their lives and terrorizing their families. Driscoll is not stable IMO. I pray he seeks professional help. And I’ll stand with his victims.

    • John

      You’re right. And if MD is really so bad, didn’t he have an obligation to warn the rest of us during those 10 years he wasn’t commenting on him?

      It appears Mr. Johnson is simply jumping on the anti-MD bandwagon because now its the “cool” thing to do. And he didn’t do his home-work either. He falsely accuses Driscoll of rejecting the idea of regenerate church membership. It took me 5 seconds to google “Mark Driscoll and regenerate church membership” and the very first hit was an article on “Mark Driscoll: 8 Marks of a True Church” which lists as it’s first mark: “The Church Is Made Up of Regenerated Believers in Jesus”. See: https://www.facebook.com/notes/church-leaders/mark-driscoll-8-marks-of-a-true-church/655919077761201

  • Neill H.

    I appreciate the perspective here, Jesse. Thanks for this.

    Forgive my ignorance, but can you further explain these two sentences? “Out with regenerate church membership. Out with corporate worship music as it has always been known.”

    • http://thecripplegate.com Jesse Johnson

      In Radical Reformission MD explained the difference between a missional church and a traditional church. In a missional church, people join the church before they come to Christ, whereas in what he called a “traditional” church people come to Christ before they become members of the church. Music-wise, in the early days of Mars Hill the music was not designed to be sung corporately.

      • John

        I’d like to see real documentation of that claim because on August 28, 2013 Driscoll had an article posted in which he listed the very first mark of a true church as consisting of regenerate church members. See: ” Mark Driscoll: 8 Marks of a True Church”

  • andrewjj

    well said, Jesse. I have always thought less of Carson and the New Calvinism crowd for taking the sloppy seconds from the emerging church, esp. since the EC, in particular the Young Leaders Network, would not put up with Driscoll’s bad behaviour. As they step up and own up to the ticket selling (Challies did a few weeks ago and Acts 29 have begun that process) then they just might restore my confidence in them.

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  • Mark Herbster

    Thank you for pointing out one of the major problems in Chrisitianity today, and that is leadership that is motivated by consumerism and pragmatism instead of creed and principle. Leaders must confront the fads of church program and personality and embrace truth driven ministry. I agree that those who propped up Mark Driscoll are partially responsible for the devistating consequences of his writing, preaching and overall direction of ministry. We may be recovering for quite some time! This is a challenge to me to be unashamed, bold and gracious in confronting error. Thanks!

    • John

      Ok, I’ll bite. What “devastating consequences.” Please document a false teaching of MD and then document it’s “devastating consequences.”
      Realize that your accusations actually have to be true.

      • http://thecripplegate.com Jesse Johnson

        Ok–this is not the thread to bring out all of MD’s errors. John, at this point in the comment thread after all of these comments you have left (many of which I’ve deleted) I honestly wonder if you see how the blue links work above. When something is in blue font, you can click on it and it goes to the source for that. Like, for example, go to the MacArthur series on Song of Solomon. But I don’t want this thread to go down the road of defending/rehashing MD’s ministry. The point of my post was simply that for those that “sold tickets” they really should do more than simply say “I hope MD sorts himself out because I really liked him.” You can disagree with that all you want, but I’m not trying to try and convict MD in this thread. That has been done in about a million other places.

        • John

          No, it hasn’t been done at all. That MacArthur disagrees with Driscoll on how to interpret Song of Solomon, doesn’t disqualify Driscoll from being a pastor.

          My challenge is meant to show that despite the smoke screen of saying “that has been done in about a million other places”, many of the accusations are out-right falsehoods, such as yours about regenerate church membership, lack of teaching on sanctification, etc., and others are exaggerated, or, as in the case of MacArthur, differences of opinion over-heated and raised to the level of a moral issue.

  • John

    The author makes a series of unproven claims and then refuses to post the comments of people who challenge him to prove those claims.

    • http://thecripplegate.com Jesse Johnson

      The only comments I’ve deleted are those that use inappropriate language. So…I guess that sort of proves the claims about coarse language :)

      • John

        My posts under my facebook profile are disappearing. Sorry if I assumed you deleted them.

        • http://thecripplegate.com Jesse Johnson

          So now (after you posted above) I did go back and delete a few of your comments, because you left the same comment in three different places. I left the most recent one though, and replied to you there. Thanks John.

  • John

    It took me 5 seconds to google “Mark Driscoll and regenerate church membership”. Johnson says Driscoll ditched the idea. But a year ago Driscoll wrote this article on “Mark Driscoll: 8 Marks of a True Church” which lists as it’s first mark: “The Church Is Made Up of Regenerated Believers in Jesus”. See: https://www.facebook.com/notes/church-leaders/mark-driscoll-8-marks-of-a-true-church/655919077761201

    • http://thecripplegate.com Jesse Johnson

      Thanks John. Back in Radical Reformission, which I think was MD’s first book, there is a chart that shows the difference between a Radical Reformissional church and a traditional evangelical church. That chart has the whole “people join the church before they join Jesus” in the reformissional side, and people come to Jesus before they join the church on the traditional side.
      But a few years ago when MD released his systematic theology book that he co-authored with…the name escapes me now…they did say that the church should only be made up of believers. If you look at how I worded it above in my post, I tried to make clear that “at that point in his ministry” that was what MD was doing. As he made clear in his second book (Confessions of a reformissional rev, I think) he moved beyond a lot of what he did in those first few years. Does that help?

      • John

        Then you completely failed to note that he changed (even if I accept your earlier characterization of his theology). It would be like introducing the Apostle Paul, later in his life, with: “Saul here gave his life to persecuting the church.” And then stop. A half-truth masquerading as a whole truth is a complete untruth.

        • http://thecripplegate.com Jesse Johnson

          True. Although comparing MD as a pastor to Saul as an unbeliever is a strange way to defend him.

          • John

            It’s an analogy. That snide comment at the end, when your deceitfulness has been exposed, shows your bias. You need to repent of characterizing MD’s theology. One expression of that repentance would be retracting your article and apologizing.

      • John

        Google says: No results found for “people join the church before they join Jesus”

        I don’t have the book so I can’t look it up. But you need to and document your claim. Or retract it and repent.

        At this point, you’re going to have to document that Driscoll ever wrote that. And even if he did, repent of deceitfully failing to note he obviously changed.

      • http://thecripplegate.com Mike Riccardi

        For the sake of accuracy, the chart Jesse is referring to is on page 68 of The Radical Reformission, which contrasts “Traditional Evangelism” with “Missional Evangelism.” The first contrast is that traditional evangelism says, “Believe in Jesus, then belong to the church.” In contrast to that, missional evangelism says, “Belong to the church, then believe in Jesus.”

        On the same page, Driscoll says, “In reformission evangelism, people are called to come and see the transformed lives of God’s people before they are called to repent of sin and to trust in God.” Then he actually says, next sentence: “Taking a cue from dating is helpful on this point. If we desire people to be happily married to Jesus as his loving bride, it makes sense to let them go out on a few dates with him instead of just putting a shotgun to their heads and asking them to hurry up, put on a white dress, and try to look happy for the photos.”

        Yikes. Try out “dating” Jesus for a little while by superficially attaching yourselves to a group that calls itself a church but has no idea what a church is, and then, decide on the basis of their lives — not the authoritative, objective, preached Gospel — whether you want to marry Jesus. Just… wow.

        On the next page: “Reformission evangelism understands that the transformed lives of people in the church are both the greatest argument for, and the greatest explanation of, the gospel.” Now, right off the bat, this is false. This is preaching ourselves in perhaps the clearest fashion we’ll see it in our generation. But allowing it for the sake of argument, we let Driscoll continue: “Therefore, it welcomes non-Christians into the church, not so much through evangelistic programs as through informal relationships…. In our church in Seattle, as lost people become friends with Christians, they often get connected to various ministries (for example, helping to run concerts, helping to guide a rock-climbing expedition, taking a class on biblical marriage, helping to develop a website, joining a Bible study, serving the needy) and participate in them before they possess saving faith. In this way, reformission evangelism depends on friendship and hospitality as conduits for the gospel.”

        The blurred distinction between the church and the world has Driscoll speaking approvingly of unbelievers “serving” in “ministries” within the church—something that is theologically impossible and practically damaging, as it has the great potential to inoculate people against actual evangelism, because, “After all, don’t I belong to the church? Aren’t I serving Christ already without having to buy all of the Jesus stuff?”

        Now, we can argue all day about the ecclesiology here, but that’s way beyond the scope of the post. I post all this just to say that Jesse’s not just making stuff up.

  • John

    That’s yet another example of the unfair, perhaps even dishonest way Driscoll has been dealt with.

    First, Driscoll did NOT reject the idea of regenerate church membership.It’s frankly a false claim that needs to be publicly retracted.

    It’s just false to say “the doctrine of sanctification was seriously neglected in the theology that was coming out of Acts 29 and specifically Driscoll’s preaching.” Again, the author would have a difficult time proving that claim.

    It’s misleading to say that Driscoll “subsequent claim that Jakes’ modalism could be considered orthodoxy”. Obviously, Driscoll would disagree that he is modalistic.

    Finally, like so many, he insists that Driscoll doesn’t meet Biblical standards of being a pastor without once proving as much. Believe it or not, the 9th commandment requires that our accusations be true, not that they just be now the popular thing to spout.

    • http://thecripplegate.com Jesse Johnson

      “Driscoll would disagree that he is modalistic.”
      Again, I don’t want this to spiral into going over every MD misstep or whatever, but you can’t seriously say that MD didn’t know Jakes was a modalist. I mean he is like the chief modalist around today. I can’t think of one who is more well known. And believe me when I say that just about every member of the Gospel Coalition pointed that out to MD before the whole Elephant thing (we link to a post about that above).

      • John

        That misses the point. Your article states that Driscoll “claim[ed] that Jakes’ modalism could be considered orthodoxy”. I challenge you to provide documentation of that accusation. Provide a quote in which Driscoll (1) acknowledges that Jake’s is modalist and (2) says that that modalism can be considered orthodoxy. You’ve made an accusation. It has to be true or you’ve violated the 9th commandment (Ex. 20:16).

        I think the Elephant Room was a bad idea (and it was MacDonald’s idea), mostly because the only reason Jakes was there is because he is the pastor of a very large church, which is apparently the only criteria that matters any more to many evangelicals. I’m sorry that MacDonald didn’t listen to the GC leaders and that Driscoll participated. But the inference in your accusation is that Driscoll acknowledges that Jakes is modalists and yet says he is “orthdoox” despite that.

      • http://thecripplegate.com Jesse Johnson

        John–You’ve asked a few questions, and I’ve given you my answers. Let’s not keep saying the same thing over and over again. If you want to ask something new, related to the post, then by all means. Go for it. You’ve asked about regenerate church membership, I”ve given you where that is from, and you are not happy with it (while also admiting you haven’t read the book its from–and its not really a page number, its more or less the point of the book). You asked about Jakes and Modalism, I answered it, and we have an entire post on it (linked above). You can find that inadaquate if you want, you have the right. But let’s stop taking every comment down that road. You don’t have to agree with me. That’s totally cool with me. Thanks John.

    • John

      The question about Driscoll is why he has provoked so many false or exaggerated accusations? Why is there such a campaign to “disqualify” him? That people resort to false accusations to further their campaign doesn’t suggest it is from God.

  • http://thecripplegate.com Jesse Johnson

    At 100 comments I think this thread has pretty much run its course.

  • http://thecripplegate.com Jesse Johnson

    At 100 comments, I think this thread has pretty well run its course. Thanks everyone.

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