Tuesday, January 13, 2015

root and branch from the emergent movement, are we sure the "left" and "right" have ended up all that different


Now Wenatchee The Hatchet has discussed problematic punditry on the Mark Driscoll situation from Tony Jones and Peter Rollins in the past.

more thoughts on what some call watchblogging, the problem of punditry from the nosebleed section about Mark Driscoll, if you're too far away from the history you may not know what it is

The idea that Driscoll's problems came about not because of any character issues but due to "toxic theology" was a useless idea.  Driscoll self-identified more as a cessationist prior to about 2002 and then began to shift from cessationist to charismatic over time.  He became less of a Macarthur fan over time, too. 

Attempting to locate the problems of Mark Driscoll in his theological views would be to miss how many times he's changed them.  He went from denouncing T. D. Jakes as a word-faith wingnut in 2007 to shaking hands with him as though he were a conventional Trinitarian a few years later.  And this could get to another matter, if Mark Driscoll were to try to reinvent himself he'd have to slough off the last vestiges of any pretense at being Reformed and maybe switch to a charismatic or even prosperity approach. 

After all, he's made nice comments about Osteen in the past.

Sort of a contrast to what Driscoll said about Osteen back in 2007 during the Phillipians series The Rebel's Guide to Joy ... if you can even find that sermon these days.  Driscoll's changed views on a few people and things over the years but if Driscoll were to more fully transition into a more charismatic or even quasi-prosperity side he'd have to deal with the reality that T.D. Jakes played a mentoring role to Paula White and that Paula White has partnered with MacDonald/Driscoll's Churches Helping Churches.


Enough of Driscoll's buddies have had no problem working with Paula White, how far away could a Mark Driscoll epiphany that it's okay for women to preach from the pulpit be?  It might be a surprise but it's not impossible to imagine.  If anything a Driscollian heel turn on his old stance on women in ministry might be just the thing to reinvigorate his public role.  It wouldn't matter if he really, personally BELIEVED that women could or should be pastors, he's just got to say he's repented of being closed hand on that particular issue and too tribalistic.  Given how much weight people any distance to the "left" of Driscoll have put on his views on women it wouldn't be too big a shock if just from a PR standpoint it wouldn't be a good move for Driscoll to publicly endorse women in ministry.  It would defang one of the most persistent issues that has plagued him from progressives for his entire ministry career and doing this about face would let him mention a public repentance that would also let him defuse further public criticism of him for all time on his views on women.  After all ... if he's willing to endorse women behind the pulpit ... .

And the thing is if Mark Driscoll (perhaps against all expected evidence) relaunched himself as an egalitarian and even an Arminian in his soteriology would this change the record of his handling of intellectual property or the financial situation at what has formerly been Mars Hill?  Nope, not really. 
But because so many of Driscoll's critics have made the foundation of their critique his theology if he does come back and in any way changes his theology then his critics will have lost what they thought was their silver bullet.  But ...


some have observed there were concerns about Driscoll's character back when he didn't embrace so fully the kinds of theological positions he's since come to be known for.

Now ... let's suppose that Driscoll's character and a particular doctrinal stance may be combustible ... Driscoll started with connections to the emergent church scene and, to put it mildly, some of the complaints and concerns that have emerged in the last year with respect to Jones and other people associated with the emergent scene open up the possibility that it doesn't exactly matter if we're talking a "left" or a "right" for this scene.  It's possible that the guys who have been part and parcel of the emergent scene, regardless of where they've landed since its inception, may not be the most encouraging places to land. 

It's hard to imagine that there's ultimately any variation in formally Christian theology, combined with Mark Driscoll's character, that would have significantly altered the path he chose.  While formal ecclesiological strictures surely would have slowed him down they would be no insurance against his determination, depending on how determined he is.  Driscoll used to say most problems in churches were due to poor ecclesiology, itself a misnomer since the issue would be the poor character of those who are in the church.  We're all sinners, after all.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree, it is not an issue of "right" or "left," Resurgent or Emergent, Driscoll or Jones ...

One of the things I believe I've learned this past year with studies on Mars Hill Church and Mark Driscoll's journey is that -- for anyone of any particular theological starting point -- a position of power without accountability, plus a paradigm of pragmatism that trumps sound theology, plus character issues from personal pathology will end up not in salt and light, but saltpeter dynamite.

So, in 2015, I'm anticipating additional Resurgent and Emergent explosive turns of events of come ...