There’s some noise running around the last few days that may be of interest to British Christians. A mega-church pastor from Seattle named Mark Driscoll released a book on marriage and physical intimacy, and it has been featured in the British press now, so I thought I’d better say something about it. If someone in our church is thinking about buying it, just a few thoughts here on the book and on Pastor Driscoll. (I’m not going to link to these things, but I can get you links if you really need them. )
I’ve not read the book, but I’ve read enough quotes from it to know it crosses the lines of propriety.
Pastor Tim Challies, who has read it twice, said he wouldn’t want his wife or his church members to read the book.
Pastor Driscoll is known for using explicit language while preaching.
Pastor Driscoll has claimed to have explicit visions of members of his church involved in sexual activity.
This is just to say that, whatever positive aspects there might be to Pastor Driscoll’s ministry, he lacks credibility as a teacher or a mature guide in this area.
There’s more. In publicising the book, Pastor Driscoll gave an interview in which he took the British church to task. Among other things:
Let’s just say this: right now, name for me the one young, good Bible teacher that is known across Great Britain. You don’t have one – that’s the problem. There are a bunch of cowards who aren’t telling the truth.
I do not see any Scriptural basis for saying that the absence of nationally known Bible teachers is a problem. Nor do I see any basis for saying that there needs to be a “young” Bible teacher — in fact, Scripture speaks of age positively, not negatively. Nor is there any basis for saying that young preachers in Britain are cowards, or that if they weren’t, they would be famous. It sounds to me like Mark Driscoll is saying there needs to be a Mark Driscoll in Britain.
It is true that there are many men in the pulpits in the United Kingdom today who have no courage, and many more who are simply unbelievers. But Mark Driscoll would be better going to the Scriptures for guidance if he wants to diagnose the problems of the British church.
The Scriptures always have credibility when they speak to the church in whatever nation. But when your diagnosis is contrary to the Scriptures, you lose all credibility. That would be true even if you are extremely knowledgeable about the situation you are addressing and your wisdom is unquestioned. But I don’t think a mega-church pastor in suburban USA who writes trendy books really knows all that much about courage in the British church.