Credibility

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.

About Jon Gleason

Pastor of Free Baptist Church of Glenrothes
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4 Responses to Credibility

  1. Diane says:

    I’m increasingly more and more concerned about Driscoll. Well, that suggests there may have been a time I didn’t have concern, I guess…not so. Young people like him. I’m not opposed to young preachers…if they are young in the sense that McCheyne was young, if you get my drift. I do agree with Elisabeth Elliot that each generation has its writers (and speakers) that can bring truth to their contemporaries perhaps more effectively. But that truth never changes. And I still prefer reading mainly from the dead guys. 😉

    Driscoll is young and edgy and makes it easy to play the grace card in sync with Romans 6. Under the guise of being studious. I read what Challies said. I agree. Chris Anderson also has a couple good posts on his blog regarding this, as well as Driscoll and the emergent church. I often use these as a point of reference for folks who are unfamiliar with that ministry. Chris is fair and concise.

    warning: this link contains some material I wouldn’t want my kids to read. It’s not Chris, it’s stuff he’s citing. If you go there, you’ll read things you wouldn’t read on my blog. — Jon
    Here are the links: http://mytwocents.wordpress.com/2009/05/27/my-two-cents-on-mark-driscoll/

    http://mytwocents.wordpress.com/2008/09/29/driscoll-on-the-emergent-church/

    • Jon Gleason says:

      I have nothing against young preachers, either. 🙂

      I have studiously ignored Driscoll, figuring Seattle and Glenrothes are a long way apart, and wanted to keep ignoring, but he’s in the papers here now.

      Nothing against Chris, but I almost zapped the link from your comment, because Chris quotes some stuff that I just don’t think we need to be saying. Maybe he needs to say it to make his point, but in that case, maybe the point shouldn’t be made. That’s the thing, you can’t hardly even critique Mark Driscoll without getting dirty yourself.

      Chris is probably a little more generous than I would be. Maybe that’s being fair, and I’m not fair. I don’t like what he does in the pulpit, that’s for sure.

      One thing troubles me. Diane says she likes my blog, and she likes reading mainly from the dead guys. 🙂

      See what I did there? I turned your comment into a comment about me. It was funny, but it still turned it into being about me. I’m turning into Mark Driscoll just by talking about him. 😦

      • Diane says:

        My apologies. I was not being mindful of that reference.

        There is much about spotlight here. Agreed. 😦

      • Jon Gleason says:

        No problem. I could have zapped the link and sent you an email letting you know why. I decided to leave it with a warning. My decision, no apology needed.

        I would rather have it in a comment than on the main blog, though.

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