Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Preliminary Thoughts on the Driscoll Controversy

Mark Driscoll
Seattle, Washington Megachurch (Mars Hill) Pastor Mark Driscoll has given up his pastorate.

Some of the reasons:

Driscoll’s resignation came in the wake of accusations of plagiarism, bullying and an oversized ego that alienated some of his most devoted followers. Conference attendees gave Driscoll a standing ovation as Morris handed him the microphone.

All this conflict about leaders in our churches is a great distraction, but fodder for the finance-starved media frenzies which pass for news information today.

He shared comments at a religious gathering a few days ago about his need for Jesus to show him his blind spots.

What does the Bible say? Are we to be looking at ourselves? No way!

"1If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. 3For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory." (Colossians 3: 1-4)

Not ourselves, but Himself. Instead of looking at ourselves, just as Adam and Eve did, we are called to look on Him who has been from the beginning!

"But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord." (2 Corinthians 3: 18)

and then

"1Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 2Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God." (Hebrews 12: 1-2)

Look to Jesus! Not to Mark Driscoll, Joseph Prince, Billy Graham, Kenneth Hagin, Kenneth Copeland, Kenneth Hamm (or Ken and Barbie for that matter!)

So, another pastor has lost his church. Really, there is just one Church, the Body of Christ, which happens to be in lots of places.

The fallen world looks with glee as one more pastor falls, a seeming failure in a world teeming with loss and shame. The truth is this: There is no condemnation in Christ, and there is no reason for anyone to think that the Good News of Christ and Him Crucified will lose its power.

Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ, not the rhetoric of men.

Men of position do not matter, for God our Father has positioned us in His Son Jesus (Ephesians 2:4-6)

Not to be crude, but Mark Driscoll talked about positions a great deal: intimate matters between a man and a wife, too.

In fact, much of Pastor Marc Driscoll's ministry seems obsessed with sexual issues. I read some of the inflammatory remarks he made, and was disappointed.

The real problem, though, goes beyond the frequent and often ribald comments on sexuality.

The focus of his preaching, and much of the preaching in American churches, is not focused on Jesus, our High Priest who lives for us, for He is our life. Where is Christ? Do people think of Him as a static persona? Do they not realize that He is our minister today? We are called to a Person, not just a faith. More than a tradition, Jesus is the Truth who sets us free!

Ever since I was born again, I had no full knowledge that Jesus is alive, and that He is living in me and for me. The battle between what I wanted, what I thought was right, etc. created such bondage. I knew that He died for my sins, but I did not know that I was called to a life of faith in Him - and His faith in me.

There is too much self, too much self-help in churches. Nothing about Jesus, and He is our help, our life, and in fact, our new self.


The other issue related to the Driscoll controversy is that he is the subject of debate in the first place. Just as the chairman of a political party leads best when no one is paying attention to him, so too a pastor is the most effective when he is revealing Jesus, our Savior yesterday, today, and forever!

We do not need to know more about how to live. We need to know Life Himself!

All this talk about making Jesus the center of our lives makes no sense. The earth does not make the sun the center of the solar system. The sun is already there. The planet earth merely rests in that orbit, and prospers. So too Jesus is the center of the universe. When we allow his powerful grace and love to orient us into His orbit, we prosper, too.

The Driscoll controversy is just one more example of American Christians putting focus on the pastor rather than the Pastor. The Bible is not giving the full preeminence which it deserves, precisely because men and women are reading the Bible from the perspective of what we must do for God, rather than our humbly accepting that apart from Him, we can do nothing.

The issue of His life in our dead being is too neglected in our churches, too. Much debate and disagreement in churches would cease if we realized that the issue is not trying to understand scriptures, but letting the Word made Flesh reveal Himself to us.

We are still too active, and we are not allowing Jesus to be active in this live, in our daily walk. Mark Driscoll will have the opportunity to grow in grace and knowledge of the Lord.

Let us hope that more American Christians do the same, recalling that a Christian is:

Christ + I + Am + Nothing

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