Some of Mark Driscoll’s most recent talks have been packed with pastoral wisdom. Do not miss his talk A Call to Endure which deserves to be heard or watched by pastor and wife together. He calls us to endure: emotionally, physically, spiritually, parentally, spiritually. Some of his insightful points include:
- The only person that can truly pastor you is your wife.
- Your personality calcifies as you get older apart from the gospel you will become a calcified version of yourself.
- The one idol your church will let you worship is ministry. Don’t lose intimacy with Jesus.
In his 1 Timothy address at GC, Driscoll lays out three types of people pastors are called to interact with: positives, negatives, neutrals. He reaches deep into his own experience to bring pastoral empathy and ministry wisdom.
Read his notes here.
The Seattle A29 bootcamp was one of the best I’ve been to. Here are a few highlights:
Preach the Word
With intoxicating passion Matt Chandler exhorted us, text after text, to be the unlikely people who proclaim the gospel and encounter opposition for being faithful to the Word of God. A standby message that can’t be preached enough in an age of theological fads, cultural fascination, church planting tricks, and the very scary American church industry.
He reminded us that when God wants to work, he repeated comes to a man. He met Moses on a mountain instead of dethroning Pharaoh by himself. He likes to use the unlikely to accomplish his redemptive purposes in history. What hope for us. But calls us to preach unpopular messages, like Isaiah’s sensory malfunction message in chapter 6, or Jeremiah’s message to “uproot and tear down,” without very little experience of “building up.” And it is this kind of embodying and preaching of the gospel of Christ crucified that, though unpopular, actually changes the whole world!
Matt was a little hard on progressional dialog/dialogical preaching. The crux of his point was that the Bible repeatedly shows people “preaching” not “dialoging” the Word and therefore that should be our method too. I think people will probably mishear Matt on some of this. In explaining the progression of dialog Matt summed it up as going from “nothing to nothing.” To be fair, his explanation came from Preaching Reimagined by Pagitt which carries a whole host of theological baggage with it. But I wonder if we can separate the method out and celebrate the dialogical homiletic a bit more? I have friends who use diaological preaching that is robust, gospel-centered, and far from “nothing to nothing.” Matt, do you think there’s room for this method provided the content delivered is biblically faithful?
A Call to Endure
Mark Driscoll’s message on endurance was jam-packed with wisdom for people, pastors, and planters alike. Focusing on the practicals of running the Christian race well and to the end, Driscoll highlighted a number of areas in which we need to endure: spiritually, physically, maritally, parentally, pastorally. His call to “love Jesus not use him” should pierce the armor of self-made ministry significance. Every pastor battles this—significance by ministry—instead of significance by Jesus. He reminded us that: “ministry is the one idol the church will let you get away with.”
Additionally, Driscoll’s comments on our wives being pastors to their husbands was rich. People used to scathing Mark for his complementarianism will do well to heed his words on this. Far from bull-headed masculinity and chauvinism, Mark pleaded with pastors and their wives to move together in ministry. How? By a pastor allowing his wife to minister to him emotionally, spiritually, relationally, etc. The calling of a pastor’s wife is not to some fanciful, exalted position of “first lady” but to the all-important place of strengthening her husband. Mark commented regarding this role of pastor’s wife: “everything else can be delegated in the chruch.
The NY Times Magazine article on Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church in Seattle explores this unusual form of Christianity, neither liberal nor conservative, yet “hypermasculine” and Calvinist. An excerpt:
Driscoll disdains the prohibitions of traditional evangelical Christianity. Taboos on alcohol, smoking, swearing and violent movies have done much to shape American Protestant culture — a culture that he has called the domain of “chicks and some chickified dudes with limp wrists.” Moreover, the Bible tells him that to seek salvation by self-righteous clean living is to behave like a Pharisee. Unlike fundamentalists who isolate themselves, creating “a separate culture where you live in a Christian cul-de-sac,” as one spiky-haired member named Andrew Pack puts it, Mars Hillians pride themselves on friendships with non-Christians. They tend to be cultural activists who play in rock bands and care about the arts, living out a long Reformed tradition that asserts Christ’s mandate over every corner of creation.
The article appears to be pretty even-handed except for the part on church discipline. However, the journalist closes with a pretty hard commentary on Calvinists:
Mars Hill — with its conservative social teachings embedded in guitar solos and drum riffs, its megachurch presence in the heart of bohemian skepticism — thrives on paradox. Critics on the left and right alike predict that this delicate balance of opposites cannot last. Some are skeptical of a church so bent on staying perpetually “hip”: members have only recently begun to marry and have children, but surely those children will grow up, grow too cool for their cool church and rebel. Others say that Driscoll’s ego and taste for controversy will be Mars Hill’s Achilles’ heel. Lately he has made a concerted effort to tone down his language, and he insists that he has delegated much authority, but the heart of his message has not changed. Driscoll is still the one who gazes down upon Mars Hill’s seven congregations most Sundays, his sermons broadcast from the main campus to jumbo-size projection screens around the city. At one suburban campus that I visited, a huge yellow cross dominated center stage — until the projection screen unfurled and Driscoll’s face blocked the cross from view. Driscoll’s New Calvinism underscores a curious fact: the doctrine of total human depravity has always had a funny way of emboldening, rather than humbling, its adherents.
What do you think? Do you find this article compelling? Is the Calvinist critique fair? Read the rest of the New York Times Magazine article here.