Thursday, 22 November 2007

Mark Driscoll A Questionable Hermeneutic

I really enjoyed Mark Driscoll this weekend, his preaching style is expository and his theology is a robust reformed Theology. However I would question his use of Jeremiah 29:4-6

“Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. 6 Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease.

Mark had earlier warned about taking a passage that was descriptive and making it prescriptive, here he failed to heed his own warning. In its context Jeremiah 29 is speaking about judgement to God's nation who had abandoned him and worshipped the God's of the nations therefore God sent them into exile. Driscoll's interpretation was that we are to buy houses in the city, to become stakeholders, to be witnesses. Driscoll emphasised that Paul went from city to city because Paul understood the way to win the culture was starting upstream where all the major players are. If we are going to change culture it will be through seeing captains of industry, lawyers and university professors becoming Christians, that is why we need to work in the city.
Whilst there is plenty of truth there, Jesus sends us to the highways and byways, the gospel is as much for the broken poor widow as for the media savvy city guy. To be fair to Driscoll his church reaches both types and he emphasised the need to reach cities because God loves people and cities have lots of people. Still the passage in Jeremiah is not about cultural evangelism but judgement.

To all my American friends and family may I take this time to wish you a happy Thanksgiving, although its not a holiday here my wife and I will be having friends over for a turkey dinner and a time of thanks giving to our God.
God Bless

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Man as the image bearer of God, Driscoll

Mark Driscoll is a complimentarian, that is he sees men and women as equal but different.Feminism is wrong to claim equality on the grounds of our being the same, we are different. He said that even though he reads for a living he is still stronger than German female athletes. We now live in a culture where fatherhood is discouraged, but God is a father and he calls men to be fathers in his own image. The biblical creation account has God speaking creation into existence, yet God gets down in the dirt to create man, mankind is the pinnacle of God's creation. The designation of woman as a suitable helper is not affirming an inferiority on woman's part, the same word is used of God describing him as a helper. Rather it affirms a lack, it is not good for man to be alone, this is the first thing ever to be declared not good. The man needs a woman who will help sort him out, a helper suggests the man needs help!!
Driscoll said the side was where woman was made from and that is her natural home, at the side of her husband.
On the fall Mark pointed out that Adam was at Eves side and yet he did nothing! We also do nothing, we say nothing when we should, we do not step up when we should, the great sin of man is that he does nothing. When the biblical view of man is someone who takes the lead, takes responsibility and loving protects his family.

I thank God for my wife who is a support to me, that we can laugh together. learn together, love each other and that we work together as a team. I am also thankful that she sorts out my rough edges with her gentle generous spirit.


Monday, 19 November 2007

Mark Driscoll and Reformed Baptists

I had the pleasure of speaking to Mark after he spoke on Saturday. We spoke about being reformed and baptist, yesterday Mark was speaking at Destiny Church, Edinburgh and told how his church had grown over 800 people in one month and is now meeting on 6 different campuses. He told us stories of people who had come to faith through the church that were absolutely astounding. Again it made me think of Stott's Contemporary Christian where Stott identified two major concerns, churches that open their bibles and pretend to be faithful but are not relevant. Secondly, churches that are trying to be relevant but do not open their bible and so are not faithful or relevant. I have spoken in a few reformed baptist churches in the UK to groups as small as a dozen, these churches are not reaching the culture and we need to. I don't agree with all of Mark's methods but he is seeking to be faithful and relevant and he is seeing thousands come to Christ in the most unchurched city in the States. Stott says the notion that the church is not growing in the west, therefore we should not expect church growth is 'fiddlesticks.' Lets seek to be relevant and faithful witnesses to Christ, lets be friends of the tax collectors and sinners, lets be like Jesus.
God Bless

Always Only Preach the Cross-Mark Driscoll

This last weekend I got to hear Mark Driscoll speak several times, the first occasion was at Destiny Church Edinburgh, where Driscoll broke all the rules of preaching, such as do not go overtime, do not have more than 3 points, stick to one text, because he preached for an hour and a half, and preached an 11-point sermon from the whole bible. His starting text was 1 Corinthians chapter 2:2, that Paul came preaching only the cross. He said that the commentators tell you that Paul was using hyperbole here, that of course he did not just preach the cross. He said this is wrong, Paul preached the cross and only the cross, because it is the Christ of the cross who alone that brings us life eternal and reconciliation.
Mark was concerned to show that substitution atonement is the Gospel, he said with passion that he cannot understand how trend setting youthful ‘heretics’ can argue that penal substitution isn’t biblical. He showed that the first instance of substitution began in the garden when our first parents substituted themselves for God. He then went to the cross, where the innocent God suffered at the hands of sinful men and died in our place. Mark pointed out that we killed God, God came to earth to die for our sin that is, our sin is the reason Jesus took up the cross. This is why Propitiation shows God’s love for us. Mark said those theologians that didn’t believe this are stupid, God hates sin and yet he took the price of sin upon himself and died for sinners. Mark argued against the distorted idea we get that God loves the sinner but hates the sin, he pointed out that the Psalms tell us that God hates sinners. "It was Gandhi who said God hates the sin but loves the sinner and he was on a whole different team.”
Mark lead us to consider imputation, that our righteousness is not our own it is Christ’s righteousness. He argued that our Sunday school teachers have Noah all wrong, it is a distorted gospel to say that Noah was good and God drowned all the bad people. The Bible says Noah found favour in God’s sight that is why he was righteous because of Grace, undeserved favour. You can see it was imputed righteousness because in Genesis 9:12 “he gets drunk and naked and if I did that I’d be out of a job.”
He also spoke about Chrestus victor, a favourite theory of atonement amongst Pentecostal Christian’s because Jesus defeats Satan and demons at the cross and that is a good thing!

Later he spoke about Jesus as a spirit filled man, that Pentecostals think the bible starts at Acts chapter 2 but Jesus was filled with the spirit. He then went on, we should all be charismatic, like Jesus who loved the lost and glorified God in his suffering. That is a good type of charismatic, if you wanna be charismatic sitting on thrones with a wife who looks like she lost a battle at a paint ball event, then that is a bad thing.
Mark reminded us that music does not mediate the way to God, nor does the pastor or preaching or even reading the Bible (all of these are good things) yet the only thing that can mediate between us and God is Christ himself, that is why the preacher must always only preach Christ and always only preach the cross!
I'll post some more over the next few days.
God Bless

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Radical Refomission on Ecclesiastes

I'm taking a short break from editing my essay on Proverbs and found a neat quote from Mark Driscoll in Radical Reformission on how to veiw transitions in culture and how to understand Ecclesiastes.

'Even a Cursory reading of Ecclesiastes shows that culture is a stationary bike that each generation climbs on in hopes of getting somewhere only to die and fall off so that the new young stud can take his turn peddling and, like a fool, make pronouncements about his progress.' P.161

I shall be at Menmakers in Edinburgh this weekend and Mark Driscoll is the main speaker.



Saturday, 10 November 2007

John Piper is justified and sanctified

Piper says, 'The sins that you fight when you fight for joy are a forgiven joylessness, when I wage war on my sins that God hates,I know that they are already defeated,covered, forgiven and I can get victory over them.' They are defeated but still we have to mortify them, our flesh is waging war against us. We are declared perfect, yet perfection still awaits us. We are saved, but we are being saved, and one day we shall be saved.

He goes on to say that we should not confuse justification with sanctification, this is the Roman Catholic error, an infused righteousness.

Does Piper hold that we are being sanctified? Yes, but he is arguing that justification is not the same thing. N. T Wright offers reformed people an interesting corrective, when we are justified by Christ it is not a legal fiction. We cannot say I am righteous if the process of being made righteous is not being show to a hurting world. Martin Lloyd Jones said of this in his Sermon on the Mount 'to say you have had an experience that doesn't draw you to delight in the law is nothing more than an experience it is not the New Birth.'
Yet we like the thief on the cross bring nothing to our salvation, it is by the righteousness of Christ that we are declared righteous. Our sanctification is to make us more and more like Jesus, but this will not be completed until the day we stand before God, then we will be just men made perfect. In the mean time shall we continue to sin that grace may abound? May God forbid!

I am looking forward to reading Piper's upcoming book on Wright. when I read Jesus confrontation with the Pharisees in the Gospels concerning their attitude to the law I cannot understand where the new perspective guys are coming from.

Friday, 2 November 2007

Wisdom From Above

Dr Jamie Grant's lectures on Wisdom literature are opening up the rest of the Scriptures. In the reading Estes shows that Job never had access to the information we are given in chapter 1. Jamie also pointed out as an example that Job 19:23-27, 'I know that my redeemer lives and that one day I shall see him in the flesh' is misused in preaching, for Job's statement of hope comes in the midst of great doubt. In the Psalms and in the wisdom literature doubt is often expressed, even exasperation and desperation at God. Yet when evangelicals preach on these texts they tend to make excuses for the attitude expressed as though it was a bad thing. Jamie argued that we need to be true to the thoughts within the text which will enable preachers to relate to the lives of those around them. For on any given Sunday people in the pews will be coming to Church with broken hearts. If we let the Scriptures speak as they do, it will relate to them in their situation. In our lives events come and seek to shatter us, yet we too like Job don't have access to what is occurring in the unseen world, the plan that God has for good and not for bad. Revelation finishes with a lovely picture where the redeemed are standing before God, and there God himself wipes away every tear, and at last there will be no more sickness, no more pain and no more death and we shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
Keep on trusting