Saturday, March 31, 2012

Mars Hill rents the City of Ephesus for a day

This was something else I noticed and might as well get to while I'm thinking of it .

After Easter, We’ll launch a new sermon series called the Seven, looking at Revelation 1–3 and the seven churches to which John writes in those chapters. Most of the series was filmed live on location in Turkey—and it’s epic. We even rented the city of Ephesus for a day.

The seven churches.  Most of the series filmed live on location in Turkey.  How much does that kind of project go for?  So Mars Hill rented the city of Ephesus for a day.  Greece's economy is completely in the toilet so I suppose maybe Mars Hill got some desperate bargain basement deal but, dude, Mars Hill has the money to spare to rent the city of Ephesus for a day?

The nets are breaking and the boats are sinking because of all that awesome growth, eh?  Does that awesome growth include the epic filming of the Ephesians sermons live on location?  What does filming a set of sermons live in Ephesus and throughout Turkey do to establish an exegetically responsible approach to the text?  Nothing.  What does it do to establish verisimilitude for a preacher weaving a good yarn about what he thinks the text means in a setting that makes it looks like he knows what he's talking about because, "Dude!  He's right there in Ephesus!" and we know that because he just told us in advance? A lot.

The Seven wouldn't be the only reason to rent the city of Ephesus for a day. Ephesians stuff is also up for 2013, by the way, as noted here.

Next fall I will preach through the book of Esther, and starting next January, I will spend 16 weeks preaching through the entire book of Ephesians on the theme of our identity in Christ. Preaching that book of the Bible will be accompanied with the kinds of resources we had for Real Marriage (e.g., research, helps for our leaders and other churches, a book, small group material, etc.) I am really excited about this book, as it has been personally life-changing for me to study the content of Ephesians!

Isn't that gnarly?  Driscoll's got all this epic stuff filmed on location in Ephesus, that the church rented for a day.  There's this book coming out that will be ready before the Ephesians series starts and members will get all these wonderful resources they can buy like a book, small group material and stuff.  It'll be just like the great resources Driscoll had set up for Real Marriage.  Driscoll has said that having his book on Ephesians come out before he preaches the series is a unique thing. Well, not really.  Real Marriage the book just came out before the sermon series. In the past Driscoll's books were often retreads of existing sermons so fellow members would say, "Ah, it's all stuff you've heard preached already."  Driscoll has wised up and is now ahead of the curve.  To help ensure books get sold he writes the book first and then releases it before the sermon series.  It's like Marvel selling a single issue of the Amazing Spiderman with, like, five variant covers.  If you're a true believer, Marvel fans, don't you just have to get them all just for the variant covers? 

This means that where as in the past you could pass on a Driscoll book because you'd already heard all the sermons for free now you can just not buy the book because all the sermons are probably going to go up for free after the book comes out anyway.  You'd have to be a hard core Driscoll fan to both buy the book and listen to the sermons. 

Now if that Esther series in the works at any point mentions Esther being a submissive and respectful wife, fair warning, Wendy Alsup over at Practical Theology for Women has already shot down that wildly erroneous handling of the biblical text.

So Driscoll tells us that the Ephesians study is going to be about identity in Christ.  Why does this sound familiar ... ?

Oh, maybe that's why.  Wendy has a book published about identity in Ephesians that's been in print since 2010.  There's nothing new under the sun, right? You could get Driscoll's book when it comes out.  Or you could get Wendy's book, or a commentary by Klyne Snodgrass or John R. W. Stott or Sinclair Ferguson or F. F. Bruce or maybe David Martyn Lloyd-Jones. 

But Driscoll's got his book coming our way and along the way he's gotten Mars Hill to rent the city of Ephesus for a day.  I just don't know why John Stott, Wendy Alsup, F. F. Bruce and Klyne Snodgrass didn't think to rent the city of Ephesus when writing their commentaries and study guides.  I mean, if you don't rent the city of Ephesus how can you say you've been there?

By the way, make sure to keep giving sacrificially to Mars Hill during this season of explosive growth, okay. That way the nobody can keep telling everybody about Somebody now that he's had his church rent Ephesus for a day. Jesus did just step on the gas after all.

For Jesus' fame.


The Goat's Opinion said...

Maybe he wants to be s reformed version of John Bevere.

Wenatchee the Hatchet said...

Well, maybe this means they think they've done such a good job defending their women against wolves they can afford to rent the city of Ephesus, just for a day, mind you, so that they can do some "epic" film work for upcoming Driscoll sermons.

Dwayne Forehand said...

Getting a little touchy aren't we Jeremiah? :) You've never seemed so biased I have to say.

Anonymous said...

Or just no more wussiness?

Wenatchee the Hatchet said...

That such a young religious institution as Mars Hill has the financial and political resources to rent a city in another country for a day should be very startling.

It should be even more startling when it's Driscoll. When Driscoll has told people they shouldn't be consumeristic in the same sermon; where he said he wasn't against culture and had three Tivos and two home theaters; and then launched into a rant on Avatar then announcing "we even rented the city of Ephesus for a day" is (or should be) startling and even disturbing.

What is renting a city in another country for the sake of filming sermons if not a demonstrated capacity for conspicuous consumption? When Driscoll told members who gave less than $500 cumulatively in the last fiscal year that he knew they could do better and Jesus loved them was renting the city of Ephesus part of why Mars Hill needed members to give more sacrificially? I hope not.

If Benny Hinn said his church rented the city of Ephesus for a day I wouldn't have been shocked at all.

Clay said...

I think Ephesus is in present-day Turkey. Other than that, I can't disagree with your observations.

Wenatchee the Hatchet said...

Ah, forgot about the Greek-Turkey detail. :) Thanks for pointing that out.