Wednesday, April 04, 2012

excerpts from 1 Timothy 3:1-7 sermon from 2/8/2004

Part 6:1 Timothy 3:1-7
Preached February 08, 2004
excerpts from the sermon below.

... It primarily has to do with character. Character. Character matters very, very much because everything between you and me, truly, is based upon trust and trust is based on character. Character leads to trust; trust leads to leadership. At the bottom of leadership is character. It truly is. A guy can be a great teacher. He can be a great singer. It can be a person who's a winsome ability to organize and to execute plans but if they don't have character, it'll come apart eventually.  It always does.  And so, again, your life is gonna be the best place to train you if you aspire to leadership.  I'm not denigrating theological education, seminary, and Bible college and such, but the best place to get trained to serve God for ministry is through living your life with Christ as a good Christian.

As Mark Driscoll has put it trust is gained slowly and lost quickly. And I agree. 
Now the next one is above reproach. This is an overarching qualification. There are a lot of thigns that a pastor could do that are totally stupid and could disqualify them. The Bible can't list them all because we'd have to take every tree on planet earth and turn it into a book to list al lthe stupid things that a man can do. So this is the junk drawer for sin, right?  I know one pastor, he would smoke weed with the kids in his youth group.  .. The body is a temple of the Holy Spirit.  It's all about self-control. If a guy doesn't have his diet under control or he's just got everything out of control, there's some defect in his character.  Just something wrong with the guy.  He just doesn't have it together.  That fits under "above reproach." ...

Could the adrenal breakdown of 2007 then have constituted a warning sign? Could it have counted as a warning sign even if Driscoll hadn't been forthcoming about the state of his marriage?

You know some denominations rotate pastors every three years because that's all the sermons the guy's got.  He's got three years of sermons, man, and he's like the Eagles. He's still doing "Hotel California" 25 years later.  Just one hit wonder, right?  ...You gotta be able to teach!  If you can't teach, you shouldn't be a pastor. ...

Speaking of "Hotel California" ...

Real Marriage is out and Real Marriage kinda looks like its revisiting the same stuff.  Now to be fair, Mark preached through Luke for three years and that was after a series on 1 & 2 Peter.  So he's only returned to reruns after about four years of back-to-back stuff that is completely new for him.  Going on auto-pilot a teensy bit by revisiting marriage, Revelation, and Ephesians and some Esther might give him time to work on other projects along the way.  He's said he'd like to get to Lamentations.  Given his track record butchering Old Testament literature I hope he doesn't do that for a while yet, but at least it'd be a poem in the OT that isn't about sex. :)

In addition, not a new convert.  All the commentaries stress what it means to be new.  I'll stress this, convert. ... If you're new to the faith and you don't know what you're doing and you're learning, you're growing, you love God but you're not quite ready yet--until you've figured out a few things, you can't really lead other people, so God wants you to wait.  ... for you young men that aspire to leadership, you know, it's better to go in a couple years late than a couple years early. Right, a couple years late, you still got a good life to serve the Lord.  A couple years early, you might be done quickly. ...

I've wondered if Mars Hill, as a culture, has too often erred on the side of young men starting a couple of years early, possibly starting first and foremost with Driscoll and then Munson.  The other co-founding pastors weren't that young and certainly weren't new converts. One of my college buddies remembers Street Talk from back when we were in college.  If Driscoll came across as qualified to be a pastor at all in the early days I suggest it was due to a halo effect.  Mike and Lief believed in Mark and that was halo effect enough to make the guy seem more ready than he probably really was.  It seems like there may not have been a person to tell Driscoll himself, "you know, it's better to go in a couple years late than a couple years early." If there's anything that chapter one of Real Marriage suggests to me now it's that Driscoll went in a couple years early.

... I love my wife. I've been totally faithful to her. I'm a one-woman man. I met her at 17. I married her at 21. I've been chasing her ever since.  I'm quicker than she is, so I'm happily married.  You know, things are good. I just am. I love my wife. I adore my wife. I enjoy my wife, you know? ...

Well, whatever Driscoll was implying there in the sermon excerpt above may need to be reconsidered in light of the new book. Real Marriage suggests that maybe this marriage was not always so happy.

Real Marriage
Mark and Grace Driscoll
Thomas Nelson 2012
page 26

We didn't know how to talk through these extremely hard issues without hurting each other even more, so we didn't talk about them at all. I just got more bitter, and Grace just felt more condemned and broken, like a failure. Occasionally we'd meet a Christian pastor or counselor who was supposed to be an expert in these areas, but we never spoke with them in much detail, because in time we found out they either had marriages as bad as ours our they had been committing adultery and were disqualified for ministry. We felt very alone and stuck.

In 2004 Driscoll said he was happily married and because he was quicker than she was he was able to pursue his wife. So if they felt very alone and very stuck it couldn't have been during February 2004, could it? Ashley was born on 1997 (by her own account) so the period of bitterness Driscoll describes after discovering Grace Driscoll had cheated on him may have been going on even during this sermon. Since the Driscolls have not been particularly clear about when the bitter period ended, and since in 2006 Driscoll famously decided to "take one for the team" and risk being hated more than he already was for saying many pastors didn't have satisfying sex lives it's tough to know whether what Driscoll said in 2004 fits with the Driscoll's account in 2012 that for many years they felt very alone and stuck. If that was the case in 2004 Driscoll was most certainly not letting on about that in the 1 Timothy 3 sermon.

The last one is the need to have a good reputation with outsiders.  This is the non-Christians, people outside of the church, right? This includes the media.  Fortunately, we've had really good media coverage ... It's been good. But it's a good reputation--people say, "You know, that's a guy who loves the Lord and loves his wife and he loves his kids and he teaches the Bible and you know, he's a decent guy.  He's a good guy.  Loves the Lord." And it shows, practically.  He's a peaceable guy. He's a straight shooter. He's a kind, gracious guy. He's got his stuff in order. He's resepctable.  ... That kind of reputation in the community is what it's talking about.  ...

Driscoll's not exactly legendarily peaceable.  We know he was serious when he said they wanted William Wallace and not Richard Simmons for elder candidates. He did call himself William Wallace II, after all, on the old Midrash. Back in 2004 media coverage was fairly pleasant and then 2006 happened. And then 2007.  Perhaps Driscoll is an object lesson that you can start well and spiral downhill. 

Now this ... this is worth noting:

Here's how it works at this church. We are in elder-lead church, an elder-governed church.  I'm one vote on the board, I -- I can get fired.  I can get censored. I can get disciplined. I'm one of seven guys who vote. First of all, if you want to be an elder in this church, you need to become a member of the church. That means you're a Christian who has been baptized, gone through a basic theological training. That you're giving, that you're serving, that you're mature, that you're doing a good job with your family and your ministry and you're rising up. Quite frankly, in the future, most of our leaders are going to come from our community groups.

That was February 2004. What about since 2007?  By 2006, well, Paul and Jonna Petry described how things began to change.  Driscoll recounted how Mike Gunn parted ways sometime around 2003 over the goal of growth in Reformission Rev.

And leaders coming from community groups, that's certainly true of a lot of leaders but what about the executive leaders since 2007?  Did Tim Beltz come from the inside?  Did Sutton Turner?  Did Dave Bruskas become executive elder after years of serving in the lower rungs and slowly working up to the top? Anyone even remember Rick Melson?

A lot has changed since 2004.

1 comment:

Sonja said...

I don't know how to direct link in blogger. Sorry.

When Driscoll's church showed slick videos rehashing the history of MHC at the end of last year and into the new year, Driscoll stated that he wasn't qualified to be a pastor when he started his church. He wished he had waited, but there wasn't any repentance of errors that he made being unqualified. I assert that alone makes him unqualified now. But I'm just a hater as Noble states.