Sunday, May 10, 2009

Driscoll's sermon at the Gospel Coalition: A total disappointment

Mark Driscoll has recently given a sermon at the Gospel Coalition 2009 entitled Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth, supposedly based on 2 Tim. 2:14-26, which can be downloaded from the Gospel Coalition website here. (You can see Driscoll's notes here)

After listening to the sermon, I am rendered nearly speechless. Is this the type of eisegesis encouraged by the Gospel Coalition, which is supposed to be Gospel-centered? Driscoll's points are so far from being taken from the text that it cannot even be called biblical in any remote sense of the term. In fact, coming from mainstream apostatizing Evangelicalism, what Driscoll is teaching in my opinion is no different from the typical "life application sermons" that are in vogue in such "evangelical" churches.

Even worse than this is the divisiveness of this sermon. This sermon encouraged pastors to distrust their flock, and to exercise dominion over the sheep and categorize them as "positive", "negative" or "neutral", contra the command of Christ to feed His sheep! The passage in 2 Tim. 2:14-26, and in fact in all parts of Scripture, are NOT attacks on "negative" people but on those who subvert the faith — heretics and schismatics. The only categorizations a pastor/elder can come up with is sheep, goats or wolves, and all this is based upon whether the person believes the Gospel and is saved (ie based on the objective criteria of Scripture). To come up with a list of 20 types of "negative people" is eisegetical, divisive and unloving. Such a disgusting attitude towards the flock is more akin to the false prophets of Ezekiel's time (Eze. 34:1-10) rather than a biblical shepherd who lays down his life for his sheep.

The book by Dan Southerland, Transitioning, a Purpose-driven paradigmatic book endorsed by Rick Warren which develops in concrete form the attack-the-PD-resistors methodology, is a resource which brings Driscoll's concept to its logical conclusion. Judging by Driscoll's closeness to PD pope Rick Warren, will this mean the entrance of this divisive technique into the New Calvinist community? If such is the case, this would make the Shepherding Movement of the last century like child's play with the widespread abuse of Heb. 13:17. I shudder to think what a "reformed-minded" abuse of Heb. 13:17 could do in destroying the spiritual lives of the flock.

18 comments:

Eddie Eddings said...

Your assessment is spot on. I hope Mark begins to heed the warnings of those who care for him and care for the preaching of the Word. I listened to the sermon and cringed each time he emphasized the "types". I always have a problem with those who try to insert a "new vocabulary" when dealing with the exposition of Scripture. I wonder what the other speakers and pastors were thinking when this was being preached. There was a minister in Houston, Texas who had (still has) a large following. He used his own "new vocabulary" to preach and teach from the Word. Instead of "repent" he used "rebound"...and it just got worse. You had to have a glossary of "his" words to understand what was being said. This is a subtle (maybe NOT so subtle) departure from the way a man of God should handle the Word entrusted to faithful men. That brings up a whole new subject..."faithful men"...we need to make sure we don't cause God's people to talk about our sermon...but talk about our Lord and Savior when all is done.

1 week ago

Rick Frueh said...

While listening to Driscoll's contruct for pastoring I had the feeling I was in a multi-level marketing meeting for managers. His premise is founded upon analyzing the sheep and placing them into categories and based upon those categories you deal with them differently. It also seems that this method is designed to make your calling easier through the eradication of unpleasant sheep and creating different types of buffer zones for those who stay.

Driscoll always comes across as controlling and smug, and his pastoring philosophy is at odds with the metaphor of a shepherd. His church practices, dress, and language seem so careless and yet his church government seems so controlling and centered on one man. That is curious and it reminds me of the late Dr. Gene Scott.

1 week ago

PuritanReformed said...

Eddie:

thanks, and I hope so too. Dan Phillips mentioned that (talk about our sermon instead of about our Lord and Savior) also in his post on Driscoll's sermon (here), and I concur.

1 week ago

PuritanReformed said...

Rick:

Exactly. It is just like Multi-level marketing, which has no relation whatsoever to pastoring Christ's flock, warts and all

1 week ago

Denise said...

Hi Daniel,

Driscoll is doing what Warren (the Seeker-friendly movement gave birth to the Emergent movement) does and has taught his followers: isolate, demonize, then get rid of those who disagree with you or your agenda. See: http://www.crossroad.to/articles2/04/4-purpose-resisters.htm

Given Driscoll's disqualification of being an elder on almost every level set out by Scripture, this inability to teach is no surprise. Tit 1:9 "He MUST hold firm to the trustworthy word AS TAUGHT, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it." So why does John Piper heartily and unapologetically continue to not only endorse, but defend and offer to his followers at the "Desiring God" conferences this wolf?

PuritanReformed said...

Denise:

I agree that Driscoll seems to be teaching the same detestable ministry tactic of Rick Warren. Given that he is on good terms with Warren, and learns from him, I wouldn't be surprised if he is learning from Warren this unbiblical tactic of kicking out "resistors".

With regards to John Piper, we don't know his heart, but he is definitely in error in endorsing Driscoll and giving him the influence he now has through the Desiring God conference and the Gospel Coalition platform. Through his actions, the entire Sheperding error (imbibed Warren and passed on to Driscoll) has entered the mainstream of what used to be conservative "Reformed Evangelicalism". It is indeed sad to see this cancer metastasizing through the Body of Christ.

1 week ago

Tartanarmy said...

I am half way through it and not sure if I will listen to the rest. A few observations, not in any particular order of importance.

1. I think he should give up the Pulpit and take to the Comedy Circuit. He is funny way more than he is Biblical, and what the Pulpit does not need is another comedian.
2. He reminds me of another guy I recently blogged about, who in his video showed a real disdain for the Sheep. Mark was not as bad as this guy, but bad nonetheless. Unloving is the term I believe.
3. Eisogesis par excellence is all I can really say about the sermon and the text it was supposed to be based upon.
4. The sermon thus far seems to be a defense of his own self importance and role as an Evangelical, his methods, critics and what have you.
5. Did I mention he should seriously consider the Comedy Circuit? I think the audience could actually become the same crowd.

And before anyone decides to come after me, let me just say this. I am a pathetic sinner, saved by the grace of God. There are many more like me out there, and I am hoping that one day all the glitz and the savvy tactics of modern evangelicalism shall disappear without a trace, but somehow I get the feeling I am in for a long haul with this kind of so called Christian landscape that I see at present.

Is it just me, but why is it, that for every half decent thing Mark say's, there are 12 more horrible things to deal with?
I am hip to a degree. I can be funny too. I am not stupid and I have been around the block a few times, but enough already!

Mark

6 days ago

PuritanReformed said...

Mark:

sadly to say, I agree.

6 days ago

Tartanarmy said...

And another thing FWIW, I do not get the impression that Mark is seriously taking on board any criticism he receives.

Someone said a while ago, that all this talk about contextualization and coming down to the level of the general public, whatever that is, is not even practiced by such secular agencies as your local News Network, when each day the general masses are addressed.
It is true. You never here them talking about "bending over the plate and taking one for the team" and any one of now hundreds of Mark's statements that are on the public record.

So if even the "secular" news networks sees no need for such "contextualization" then it is obvious, that Christians should have a higher standard than even what the world accepts.

Mark

6 days ago

PuritanReformed said...

Mark:

I agree

5 days ago

James Krieg said...

Please be careful accusing Driscoll of Eisegesis - You are assuming that the task given to speakers was to give an exegetical presentation. Good preachers do the exegesis in their preparation, not from the pulpit.

Many criticise Driscoll because they feel he is using clever techniques taken from Comedy Central and church growth methodologies. How about considering that he is simply being himself? If he is an in-your-face guy who naturally uses a sense of humour, why not look beyond our stereotypes of what type of personality a reformed gospel preacher should have, and understand him in the context of who he is and where he ministers?

With respect

James

2 days ago

James Krieg said...

tartanarmy,

Please listen to the second half. I guess many who accuse him os arrogance or self importance have done the same - Ie been offended, and stopped listening. Listen to his own self criticism and the call to humility at around the 50-60 minute mark...

James

2 days ago

PuritanReformed said...

James:

I have listened to the whole sermon. After attacking the sheep and detailing 20 kinds of negative, whatever self-criticism comes across as damage control. I guess you have not experienced the sheperding movement at all?

PuritanReformed said...

James:

>Please be careful accusing Driscoll of Eisegesis - You are assuming that the task given to speakers was to give an exegetical presentation. Good preachers do the exegesis in their preparation, not from the pulpit.

You are kidding, right? Good preachers "do the exegesis in their prepration, not from the pulpit"?

I'll be very generous to you. Show me any place in Scripture whereby pastors are to label the 20 types of negative people. I eagerly await your scriptural proof for such a feat.

Lastly, show me where in the Scriptures are pastors told to "be themselves", and where such an activity is a valid mitigating reason for not preaching the Word of God? Unless you want to defend the notion that pastors are allowed not to preach the Word of God in their sermons, but their life experiences, in which please defend THAT position from Scripture also.

1 day ago

tartanarmy said...

James:

His eisogesis is quite obvious, and in a sense is the least of his problems, for he does have a grasp on Theology proper, but that is what I also find hard to understand.
He is definitely a new breed of Calvinist. As far as trying to look beyond "sterotypes" and all that, is Scripture not sufficient to define what a Pastor should look like?
The context of "who he is" and "where he ministers" must still be understood and shaped by Scripture, right? Or have we come to a place where the Bible needs an update on the subject regarding culture and Post Modern Anthropology?

I just wish those who support such ideas and defend Mark's ways would just come right out and admit that the Bible is not sufficient to provide a response to these matters, then the rest of us would know exactly what we are dealing with and act accordingly.

I have now heard the second half and will freely admit it is better than the first half, but again, it is that inconsistency that is the problem.

If the fruit of his ministry produces converts that act and say the same things he says, I think Christianity is in deep trouble and out of step with what Scripture teaches regarding the personal sanctification of not only believers in the pew, but those in the Pulpit.

There are serious elements and fruit of this type of Christianity that even the world itself finds distasteful, and given the times we live in, that speaks volumes does it not? But, if we do not see it, just maybe we do not see because we have not eyes to see it with.

Mark

1 day ago

Ken said...

That whole coalition confused me! I don't see a clear purpose, maybe I'm wrong though...

Ryan Minkler said...

Wow...I ran across this by accident but I cannot believe how the majority of you are using a blog to clearly violate Scriptural warnings of judging another brother. Most of your critiques are extreme and obviously based on a presupposed bias that you have against Driscoll. He was simply highlighting the negative people Timothy probably was encountering and Driscoll was also speaking from his own experience with negatives. You all should be ashamed of your arrogance. Like it or not there are different "types" of people in the church. Some are sheep and some are wolves. Some are obedient and some wayward. They need to be exposed, which is what I am sure you think you are doing to Driscoll. So don't act like you don't put people into "types" because you've just done it with him. Obviously you are the "type" of Christians who do not confront another brother one on one but instead one who posts on blogs where your pride can be stroked when your buddies agree with you. Which is a "type" of coward. I dare you to actually do the biblical thing and write Driscoll instead of writing about Driscoll. If you believe you are so in the right and the "elect" will hear the Shepherd's voice, start admonishing and rebuking him in Christ so he has opportunity to repent and God can change his heart. But I am sure you think the elect are the only ones who agree with you and Driscoll must be the non-elect. This reeks of Phariseeism.

PuritanReformed said...

@Ryan:

>I cannot believe how the majority of you are using a blog to clearly violate Scriptural warnings of judging another brother

So you are using a comment on my blog to "clearly violate Scripturl warnings of judging another brother"? Or maybe you think that I am not a Christian?

>Most of your critiques are extreme and obviously based on a presupposed bias that you have against Driscoll

Mere assertions. You clearly cannot emphatize with those who are kicked out of churches because they oppose pastors' pet plans, of which they are many. How unloving of you!


>He was simply highlighting the negative people Timothy probably was encountering

"probably"? What exactly does the text say? That Timothy encoutered "negative people", or that he encountered heretics and schismatics?


>You all should be ashamed of your arrogance

So are you claiming to be very humble in judging me?


>Some are obedient and some wayward. They need to be exposed

Here lies the exact problem with your reasoning. I do not think that wayward sheep are to be exposed. Only wolves have to be exposed, and wolves are marked by their false teachings, not by their oppositions to the "pastor's vision". The pastor is NOT God, never. Driscoll is neither an apostle nor the pope, so he has no right to expect total compliance from God's people to whatever vision he comes up with.

>Obviously you are the "type" of Christians who do not confront another brother one on one but instead one who posts on blogs where your pride can be stroked when your buddies agree with you

Wow, the arrogance of your pontification...


> I dare you to actually do the biblical thing and write Driscoll instead of writing about Driscoll.

I dare you to actually read the Bible and stop making false unbiblical accusations against me. Go read what the Bible teaches about errant public teaching - which is to be refuted in public not private.


>If you believe you are so in the right and the "elect" will hear the Shepherd's voice, start admonishing and rebuking him in Christ so he has opportunity to repent and God can change his heart.

Since you seem to love brother Mark, you can forward this link to him. As for me I don't have any hope that he will actually even hear me, which is why I save my breath. After all, Driscoll refused to listen to the loving correction of another pastor John MacArthur so why would he listen to others less renown?

>This reeks of Phariseeism

This remark shows you know nothing of what the Pharisees actually are at fault of. If I have a nickle everytime people hurl that cheap accusation around, I will be very rich by now.