Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Driscoll - Why Use Harsh Words?

I have heard many comments on facebook (on both sides)concerning Driscoll's way of using harsh words from the pulpit - especially as he goes after hypocrites. Here is a video where he explains his rationale.

He also seeks to give a biblical defense of using sharp words in a lecture he gave in Minneapolis last September at the Desiring God Conference - "How Sharp the Edge? Christ, Controversy and Cutting Words." I especially enjoyed the last 20 minutes where he exhorts church members to watch how you talk about pastors and pleads with them to pray for us.

I know that many object to Driscoll's reasons for harsh words like - "well, Driscoll is no OT prophet nor is he like Jesus (both used sarcasm and crude words to attack hypocritical religious people)." Douglas Wilson has some good points on this subject in a post called "A Temporizing Baa-Lamb." If you have taken enough time to criticize Driscoll, please take the time to read Wilson and listen to Driscoll's sermon on Words. I do think Driscoll goes to far sometimes, but I am not in his shoes and I am far too often a people pleaser.


northWord said...

Hi Pastor Daniel,

I havn't listened yet to the message that Driscoll had for the women but listened to the one for men. It was extremely powerful, convicting and biblical (though he did not need to use the implicative word: "freakin").

This Dricoll thing has again been heavy on my mind since you posted his videos.

For the past year and a half or so, as it's ebbed and flowed, I've been following the "debate" on Driscoll's ministry and style of preaching. In spite of being a bit shocked and alot dismayed at seeing the words of a few people (whom I consider very biblicaly-solid) decrying-Driscoll in the blogosphere, it was this video and then Driscoll's humbled, disarming and marvelous (!) message at the DG Conference that made me a Dricoll "fan".

But I can no longer condone Driscoll after reading the recent 4 part series John MacArthur did on him. I wondered if you've been reading it?

It was started just this week, and ended today with Part 4. It was very well layed out*, and was the final catalyst in my being convinced that, especially as a Pastor/teacher, Mark Driscoll has some serious issues he needs to resolve, stat.

(here is part 4 of MacArthur's series)

God bless you, Pastor Daniel, for your utter respect and regard for the Word in all manner! We as your congregation are TRULY blessed by you, and by Pastor Dave.

*(I have not seen any of Driscoll's: "Songs Of Solomon" - but after thoroughly reading the series and some links at Shepherds Fellowship I do know that I don't need to)

northWord said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
northWord said...

-one more thing - I don't expect you to spend your time investigating this stuff, and the quality of your ministry tells me that you likely don't (unless you have an amazing gift for speed-reading and memory retention! ;p

Grace & peace ~

/edited to add my name

Daniel Patz said...

Thank you for respectful thoughts and concerns that you shared about Driscoll. First of all, as you probably assume, I do not endorse everything Driscoll does or says even though I recommend many of his books and sermons.

I read the first part of MacArthur's "Rape of Solomon" so I have not read them all but I am concerned by his bold accusations with little to prove his claims. Again, I plan to read the other three sections as well as listen to Driscoll's series on the Song of Solomon. My brother in law has listened to it and has recommended it to me.

Here is a response to MacArthur's critique of Driscoll. Thanks for bringing this to my attention. We all need to continue to be discerning readers and bereans:

Posted by Robert Hayton | Tuesday, Apr 14, 2009

I was very hesitant when listening to Driscoll's series on the Song of Solomon. I was expecting over the top language, inappropriate innuendo and jokes, etc. I was absolutely stunned, however, when I listened to that series. There were a couple of places where the joke was inappropriate in my opinion, but not much more than a couple. What struck me was how important everything was he was sharing. Most of the messages didn't deal with sex outright. They dealt with marriage according to the Biblical pattern and ideal. At times it was a hard hitting, challenging series of messages. It was very helpful and full of God-centered advice. I honestly haven't heard the like in a series that addresses all the elements that need to be addressed when it comes to marriage.

Driscoll also points out that he doesn't know of very many conservative preachers that bother to preach through the Song of Solomon at all. Our culture screams sex from every billboard, shopping mall, and TV commercial, yet conservative Bible preachers barely address the topic. Regardless of your opinion of how Driscoll deals with the subject at least he is doing so with a Biblical stance. He may not have preached the perfect sermon series, but he tried. Others are silent.

To say that Driscoll has led the charge to make sex the theme of our pulpits, seems an overstatement. The sex pledges and stuff like that totally did not originate from Driscoll. He made no call for daily sex in this series. He knew it would get people talking and drive website traffic and church attendance. So he purposely preached the gospel for the entirety of one of the sermons.

To attack Driscoll's treatment of the Song of Solomon, you have to disagree with C.J. Mahaney's treatment of the book too, as seen in his excellent book Sex, Marriage and Romance for the Glory of God. And there are scores of generally faithful Bible commentators who would agree with some kind of position similar to Driscoll's take on Solomon. Further, he doesn't say the whole book is about sex, but emphasizes it also pictures Christ and the Church.

I fear this whole series is just an attack on Driscoll, because he is a threat. He is conservative enough that young guys like me will give him an ear. It approaches the tactics of fundamentalists, the group I was raised in. Rather than teaching discernment and helping us be rooted to Scripture more than to personalities, this series and several others will blow small things out of proportion in an attempt to make Driscoll look bad so we won't want to listen to him. And even if this series is more careful in that regard, the blogs which will link here will take that approach. Driscoll seems to be teachable and is trying to be humble. My pastor, John Piper has reached out to him and found ways to meaningfully help Driscoll reform in important ways. Lobbing grenades from the sidelines is not an effective way to bring meaningful change to guys like Driscoll.

I don't really have a stock in this fight. I'm just sharing my thoughts on this. I'm not committed to Driscoll, or to Piper or to MacArthur. I want to be careful in how I build my life on Scripture, and I want to follow God's leading for my life. I think if anyone gives Driscoll an honest hearing through the sermon series being picked apart here, they will be truly blessed and challenged. We should at least own up to the good things he has to say and acknowledge the evidences of grace that are very apparent in his ministry.

Blessings in Christ,

Bob Hayton
Fundamentally Reformed

northWord said...

Hi Pastor Daniel,

Thanks for your well reasoned reply!

I'd especially noted that comment posted by Robert Hayton, it was the one I thought of as a most reasonable observation I'd seen thus far.. I was definately thinking "overstatement" too. Then as articles 2, 3 and 4 came out, along with the responses coming in, my bias toward Driscoll was beginning to wane. (supposing I actually had a "bias" - more a benefit of the doubt).

The SoS sermon that got up their noses the most was not the one made available for general public use at the Resurgence site. The sermon causing the proverbial camels back to break, leading to this public "calling out" was a sermon he indescriminantly did in Scotland before a "mixed" congregation.

It seems the audio of the sermon has been pulled since MacArthur's posts, but a link to the transcript has been provided. (discreetly included in Part 4). If you don't find anything offensive enough in there for reproach I would, at least, be surprised.

I cringed at just the first half of the first paragraph. Driscoll gives his audience a choice of 3 sermons to listen too; (which I found dumb and contrived to begin with) The first 2 are dull (by the worlds standards)-especially compared to his third choice of: "...the most exciting parts of the book of the Song of Solomon.".


His carelesness in presentng/representing the other two "subjects" as anything less than holy, awesome and wonderful God given mercies that greatly precede the gift of sex..is in itself reprehensible. (hello? full understanding-of-the-Gospel??).

Having said these things, I wouldn't presume to know this whole calling-out of Driscoll was entirely properly executed, I'm sure many were involved and consulted in it -though from listening to Phil Johnson's interview with David Wheaton it's apparent that they contacted Driscoll several times before going public, giving him ample opportunity to rightly respond. They didn't like how he did respond and so went ahead with the Shepherds Fellowship series. (actually, preceding this call-out was Phil Johnson's message at the Shepherds Conference this year - I havn't heard it in its entirety).

It is good that these things concerning Driscoll have been brought to light. Especially after reading the Scotland sermon transcript I think it was needed.
In light of that I think it is wise to be extra discretionary when referencing Dricoll, at least until we here from him.

Ultimately,I understand that we are not warring with flesh and blood but with the god of this world, with powers and principalities in a whole 'nuther realm we can't even see. I think this is especially illuminated when we see great men of God disagreeing and the fallout that results from that. (and I do believe they both are great teachers). There have been many misguided, mis-informed, biased, rather uncharitable responses from both sides.

I appreciate the opportunity to discuss this with you, Pastor, thanks!

Blessings ~