Thursday, October 09, 2014

Driscoll using the pulpit to indirectly address "this season" part 2: Driscoll on wolves in Acts 6

That being said as well, the reason I haven’t addressed this season directly from the pulpit is that the pulpit is sacred and it belongs to the Lord Jesus. … Man the last thing I want to do is turn Sundays into talking about me instead of Jesus, or pointing to me instead of Jesus, ...
[from a video featuring Driscoll from the summer of 2014]

As noted earlier, there's a whole sermon in the Acts series from 2014 that seems to be an indirect gloss on the "season" at Mars Hill that appropriates part of Acts 6.  This trend seemed as though it continued when Driscoll got to the life and death of Stephen as an occasion to talk about being empowered to face wolves.
Pastor Mark Driscoll
ACTS 6:8–8:3
May 25, 2014

Today, in God’s providence, we find ourselves in Acts 6:8 through Acts 8:3. Empowered by the Spirit to face wolves.

Does this mean, "It just so happens this week that God has orchestrated everything in the cosmos for me to interpret a passage in Acts as basically being about what I'm about to talk about"? Wolves, eh?

If it seems less direct the details emerge in the application.

These wolves who are now attacking the church are relentless. They started with Stephen, they’ve got Stephen dead, now they’re going from house to house. Do you know how much time, energy, and organization it takes to go to this Bible study, this Community Group, this Redemption Group? Whatever their groups were, they were meeting in homes, going through the list of the leaders, going through the organization of the church, and one by one, declaring war, and even taking men and women, leaders, off to prison to punish them. Well, this obviously causes the rest of the people to be afraid and to scatter. Wolf comes in the sheep pen, kills a few sheep, the rest of the sheep run for their life. It’s relentless, this plan that Saul has overseen.

It is also religious. Saul is not an atheist. If you were to sit down with Saul and say, “Tell me about yourself,” he would echo what he says in Philippians 3: “I was born into a devoutly religious family. I learned the Hebrew Scriptures growing up. I had a good, formal Bible education. I’m a leader in my religious community. I was circumcised on the right day. I obey all the rules. I’m a good, moral, upright person, and I am doing this for the Lord.”

Sure, because the only way to interpret and apply insights about a biblical text describing Stephen would be framing the understanding of the text in terms of Redemption Groups or Community Groups. 

Now perhaps Mark Driscoll and whatever defenders he still has may really think that Driscoll has not directly addressed this season of Mars Hill from the pulpit.  That's sad if they think that because the indirect transformation of supposedly expository sermons in Acts 6 into a stream of editorial asides about the season isn't that hard to pick up.  Even if everyone at Mars Hill is staying off the internet these days it's not difficult to connect dots between Driscoll's commentary about "wolves" and things like this:

As people should know by now the most trenchant criticisms of Driscoll have come from evangelicals and conservatives in the last year over allegations of plagiarism and sales-rigging to secure a #1 spot for Real Marriage, this latter allegation turning out to be true.  As publishers have gone back and amended Driscoll books in the last year you'd have to consult first print editions to get a clear understanding of how far-reaching the plagiarism scandal actually was.  So even in noting that atheists are not wolves (Valerie Tarico might be glad to hear that) Driscoll seems to have offered a commentary that wolves could be religious people (i.e. people who would potentially be fellow Christians). 

If Driscoll or his defenders believe the last thing Driscoll wants to do is turn Sundays into constantly talking about himself and the season at Mars Hill ... well ... that train may well have left the station since the ... dawn of Mars Hill.


David Koenig said...

Plenty of this too in the first 1 John sermon (URL: ).

'It’s amazing that when Jesus goes to choose leaders, he chooses them from the business world and not from the theological schools or the formal places that we would consider a pastor would have been trained in that day.'

That and the preceding text: am I not supposed to take that as a pretty clear reference to then-EE Sutton Turner? I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who took this as a veiled defense of hiring someone who was getting a lot of flak for running the church like a business.

And later on, he talks about the attributes of a faithful friend:

'And in that culture, you would sit next to your most trustworthy friend, your most faithful friend. And if they had something private to say to you, you would lean over so that your head was on their chest and in front of their ear, then others couldn’t lip read what they were saying and only you could hear it, and you had privacy, confidentiality. This is someone you can trust with sacred information.

And in that moment, we don’t know what Jesus said to John. We don’t know everything that Jesus said to John because John was a faithful friend. He didn’t betray, he didn’t gossip. Maybe Jesus told him nothing, maybe Jesus told him everything, but John was a faithful friend. By God’s grace, may we all be faithful friends like that. By God’s grace, may we all have faithful friends like that.'

In most circumstances this is true. But it's not the measuring stick for what makes a faithful friend. We see Paul rebuking Peter in nearly the most public way possible: in front of the whole church. Is Paul not a faithful friend now, or is he doing what he is doing precisely because he is a faithful friend?

Plenty more can be written about the blatant twisting of 1 Corinthians 6. The irony of rebuking the supposed 'clear, defiant violat[ors]' of that chapter's commands on a public forum should certainly be noted, and again, the Bible does exactly this in the most extreme cases. If we're not supposed to invite nonbelievers to the discussion, then I think Paul owes Demas and Alexander the Coppersmith an apology.

Wenatchee the Hatchet said...

and, of course, those moments of Mark just reading a passage from Nehemiah in 2007, saying "this is just like Mars Hill" and proceeding to talk about the church. It's come in hills and valleys but he's been at this using the pulpit to explain things in the church for a while.