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Saturday, April 25, 2009

In the presence of HaShem (The Name)

The prophets Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel and John of the Apocalypse all experienced theophanies. Their response to this experience had some common elements. Falling on their face and becoming speechless. In the continuing controversy over the words and actions of Mark Driscoll at Mars Hill Church in Seattle, I have been told to be patient and watch how this trial by fire will purify Mark's ministry. My question in response to this is, how long should we wait. The person who told me to be patient was introduced to Driscoll at my suggestion some time in 1993. We met him one morning for coffee at Seattle U. I only had one other face to face with Driscoll which was right after he had been on Dobsen's show. But via radio and Internet I have kept track of what he was doing and teaching, not obsessively, sometimes I would go a year without listening once. In 2006 I took some interest in the Desiring God conference, TIm Keller, John Piper, David Wells, Mark Driscoll, and others. I was particularly interested in David Wells strong and negative reaction to the presence and performance of Driscoll. It was at that point that I began, once again, to wonder if there was something not just right with Mars Hill Church. The thought had certainly occurred to me before. Driscoll's pre-MarsHill radio show with Leif Moi "Street Talk" was a foretaste of his sermons at MHC. I remember Mark saying on that show that "Street Talk" had been dumped in Huston Texas because of the teaching on sexuality.

I was reading in the epistle of Jude today where he was describing the sins of the opponents. Two major issues were blasphemy (angels) and promoting immorality. The recent controversy over the Song of Songs sermons at MHC seems to focus on two issues. One is appropriate speech in the pulpit. Another is Driscoll's teaching about sexuality. In other words, some critics seem to focus on how the message is packaged but others are also concerned about the message itself, not just the packaging. The question about packaging, how Driscoll's expresses his ideas raises the issue of blasphemy. Driscoll defends himself by arguing that he doesn't intend to blaspheme. I find that argument weak. The effect is that blasphemy occurs regardless of Driscoll's "intent".

Picture Mark Driscoll in the shoes of Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel or John of the Apocalypse, standing in the presence of The Glory of HaShem (The Name). Having had this experience, can you picture Mark Driscoll getting up on stage and talking the way he does? Using The Name of the Messiah in contexts that are both lewd and disrespectful. I find it impossible to picture this. Anyone who had stood in the very presence of The Glory, would, like the prophets be afraid to speak at all.

The second issue is more difficult. Is Driscoll's teaching on Song of Songs advocating immorality? Forget about his pseudo exegesis of the Song, it isn't worth refuting. Richard Hess (Song of Songs, BakerAcademic 2005) in his introduction outlines several ways NOT to read the Song. Driscoll's approach is right there, several places in the list of how NOT to read. Setting hermeneutics and exegesis aside, I don't suspect there would be any hope of reaching a consensus on the activities Driscoll advocates. Some would accept them and others would not. It is too bad we don't have a Pope to settle the issue. I think the very least that could said is that Driscoll is setting up wives who don't agree with him for a falling out with their husbands over this issue. The subtext of Driscoll's message is that wives need to "put out" to keep their husbands out of trouble. There is an implied threat there.

See Bart Barber's Driscoll promote[s] fellatio to the status of Christian ordinance


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Blogger MRWBBIII said...


11:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

lol, Driscoll has been a jerk for decades. He is still ticked off that he never made it to the Major Leagues in baseball.

7:27 AM  

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