Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Mark Driscoll, Steven Furtick and Christian maturity (ADD)

It is no secret that people like Mark Driscoll and Steven Furtick are not exactly nice to their critics. Driscoll likes to attack young men especially in their 20s as cowards and berates them to grow up. He furthermore attacks critics as bloggers living in their mother's basements blogging while wearing pajamas. Steven Furtick attacks his critics as "haters" who need to grow up. Both of these "pastors" while rather different do not hide their manifest disgusts at their online critics and young men.

It is the case that there may be some substance behind some of Driscoll's critiques. What I want to focus here however is to examine these men according to the true biblical criteria of what maturity is. As they attack others for being immature, are they actually mature at all?

What exactly is maturity? Is maturity defined by being married, as Driscoll puts it? Then the Apostle Paul is certainly immature according to Driscoll's standard.

There are different types of maturity: for example physical, intellectual, emotional, relational and spiritual. Since we are speaking of supposed "pastors," we would look at the pastoral epistles which specifically define the maturity required for leaders of the church.

Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God's church? He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil. (1 Tim. 3: 2-7)

This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you—if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination. For an overseer, as God's steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. 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. (Titus 1:5-9)

All pastors are elders of some sort, and thus are expected to be mature with the qualities exhibited. Most certainly we are not perfect, but these qualifications are not meant for only perfect people to qualify. One does not have to be perfect for example to not be a drunkard.

We start first with Mark Driscoll, the recent author of the salacious book on sex. How does Driscoll measure up to these attributes? Well, Driscoll is certainly the husband of one wife, and probably not open to the charge of debauchery and insubordination. He is however not above reproach, not self-controlled, and not a lover of good, and is not dignified. He also does not hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, with his blasphemous pornographic "visions" being a violation of Scripture and basic common sense. Compared to the standards of Scripture, Driscoll does not qualify as being mature.

Steven Furtick is much worse. He is not above reproach, definitely not well thought of by outsiders (and instead attacks his critics as "haters"), not self-controlled, not a lover of good etc. He attacks the sheep who want to go deeper into Scripture, certainly behavior more like a butcher just waiting to have lamb chops for sale than a shepherd.

According to the standards of Scripture therefore, both Mark Driscoll and Steven Furtick are not mature. In their attacks against the supposed "immaturity" of young men and/or critics, they therefore have absolutely no authority whatsoever. It's worse than a pot calling the kettle black, because at least the pot does not take to itself the sacred office of the pastor.

Therefore, next time Driscoll or Furtick rants against immaturity, ignore them. They are basically over-age immature playground bullies. None of them are fit for the office which they illegitimately take hold of. Ironically, while deploring the immaturity of others (real or imagined), they are poster boys for the perpetual adolescence of boys who refuse to grow up. In other words, their very behavior manifests the pathology in today's adolescent culture.

This applies also to all who follow them. Shouting and berating others even for a good cause is not a sign of maturity. The kind of pseudo-masculinity paraded by Driscoll and others gives those of us who are complementarians a bad name, as if biblical masculinity is supposed to one that is interested in violence, "fight club," beer and sex (lots of it). Instead of letting the Bible defines what masculinity is, Driscoll defines masculinity as the almost total opposite of the effeminized cultural norms, as if the extreme opposite of an error is always the truth.

Let us therefore reject the examples of people like Mark Driscoll and Steven Furtick. Their examples only lead to more immaturity and a continuance of the pathological state of the perpetual adolescent culture. Instead, follow the examples of true godly men. Look to the examples of the pastors and elders of your local church (assuming it's a true biblical church), who though little known faithfully care for the flock without much recognition, honor and glamour. Such people despite their flaws are much more mature than Driscoll and Furtick can ever be, unless they repent.

Addendum: Just as to prove me right, Driscoll decided that calling British pastors cowards was an excellent thing to do.

6 comments:

mwhenry said...

For the sake of full disclosure Sir, are you or have you ever been a hater, or do you sit in your moms basement wearing pajamas?
Thank you for a refreshing post.

PuritanReformed said...

@mwhenry:

according to their definitions, I guess I am a hater and I do sit in my mom's basement wearing pajamas. Although, my mum does not have a basement and I'm not currently staying with my family.

Luke said...

I don't consider you a "hater" and I believe that you truly do want to do good for the cause of Christ. I have been in the ministry for 45 years as a pastor, assistant pastor and Christian educator for almost as long. However, I must disagree with you concerning Steven Furtick. We attend the church every weekend. It is easy to take something out of context. He neither dislikes nor berates young men and women. He is a young man and the vast majority of his staff are very young. Yes, he does challenge young people to take an active stand for Christ. You might consider praying for him. God bless you and your ministry.

PuritanReformed said...

@Luke:

we have to disagree. I don't see anything edifying about his "Hey haters" video.

Luke said...

pI'm afraid that you are taking that video out of context. Don't judge someone on the basis of one video. I have personally seen hundreds of lives changed, families reunited, Christian growth, etc. He may not have an emphasis that you would have, but the results of the ministry are undeniable.

PuritanReformed said...

@Luke:

I don't see how context changes anything regarding the "Hey haters" video. Even the Bible in the Imprecatory Psalms are merely pronouncements of doom and destruction not ad-hominem attacks on peoples' characters.