29 August 2014

This 'n' That

photo credit: UNDP in Europe and Central Asia via photopin cc
Once again, Mark Driscoll has dominated the landscape of evangelical headlines this week with his announcement of a 6-week hiatus from ministry until charges against him are reviewed. There are a myriad of ways we could respond to this. Many jump first to sarcasm and snark, but it would be my prayer that we would not do that here. Sometimes our unsolicited wit and opinions are simply unhelpful. Rather, we ought to pray, among many things, that the men who are “investigating” the charges against Driscoll would humbly submit to Scripture, not to Mark Driscoll, and in doing so would realize that he was never qualified to be an elder or pastor, and he certainly has only disqualified himself more in the years since he began his ministry. It is not a time for the elders of Mars Hill to be ‘yes-men,’ but to be overseers.

We also must learn from this. What has happened at Mars Hill Church and at other churches across the world, whether mega or mini, is not only an example of God’s purpose for including the qualifications for elders in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1, but also demonstrates an abuse of such biblical mandates for elders as Hebrews 13:17:
Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.
The Bible is clear that believers are to submit to the elders who have been charged with overseeing them and the well-being of their souls. Yet this is not a commission to be taken lightly by elders, for they “will give an account.” What a weighty call! And it is no doubt one that, if not undertaken by qualified men with prayer and humility, may result in a swelling of pride and an exercise of decidedly unbiblical control and governance. To the men who are serving in such a capacity, let me urge you to remember that you do not “call all the shots”—God does.

This is why such passages as Hebrews 13:17 cannot be acted upon without the balance of other passages that also address leadership in the church. I think especially of 1 Peter 5:1–4 in this instance:
Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed, shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock.
“Be examples to the flock,” dear pastor, dear elder. Do not lord your authority over the flock that God has graciously given to you. You have been given that flock not for your glory, but for God’s. They are His people, not yours. The sheep in your care will joyfully submit to you and to your example when they see you magnify Christ and submit to Him in all things and all situations, whether favorable or unpleasant. The sheep in your care will willingly submit to men who lead, not as the world leads, not as a dictator leads, but as Christ leads. And when the sheep in your flock see you exemplify the fear of God that no doubt accompanies such a serious task as eldership, they will joyfully pray, encourage, and support you in the ministry that God has given you—for the glory and honor of His name.

Of course, I write as one who is not an elder and who will never be an elder. But I write as a member of a flock. I write as a sheep. I write as one who has seen at least mild consequences of abuse firsthand. I write as one who has experienced elders stepping outside of the boundaries of their authority. I write as one who has witnessed the ungodly intimidation tactics of men who were more loyal to another man than they were to Christ. I write as one who prays for the men who bear the burden of ministry. I write as one who loves the Lord and grieves when His name is disparaged because of the ungodly antics of men like Mark Driscoll. I write as one who pleads with elders everywhere to stand firm where Scripture stands, and to love as Christ loved.

Have you been blessed with church leadership that glorifies God in such a way? Leadership that holds one another accountable to Scripture and to Christ? Thank them. Pray for them. And then take a few moments to enjoy your week in review (kind of):
  • In light of what I've written above, and in the wake of the Driscoll debacle, you may want to read this timely article about spiritual abuse over at the Sola Sisters blog.
  • A good article by Jesse Johnson at The Cripplegate about the "Driscoll Drama."
  • David Platt is the new president of the Southern Baptist International Mission Board.
  • Polygamy is legal in Utah.
  • I don't really like Nutella, but if you do, you may like this place.
  • Here is your weekly dose of adorable.
  • Kevin DeYoung appeals to Martyn Lloyd-Jones to briefly discuss "scandalous grace that isn't cheap."
  • Use Kindle? Use Evernote? A match made in heaven.
  • The Grace to You blog is talking about church discipline.
  • Nine current Mars Hill elders are taking a stand.
  • The spiritual shipwreck of the Word Faith movement:

6 comments:

  1. Justin Peters is telling the truth, the biblical truth according to God's Word. Everyone should listen to Justin because he is warning people of deceptions. God bless Justin Peters for always warning people and for rightly dividing God's Word.

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  2. I'll stand with as another sheep pleading for church leaders to stand and lead with God's Word. Nice rundown for the week.
    I am more shocked that it took an anthropologist to tell us that Hello Kitty is "a cartoon character" than I am about the Osteen statement...who didn't see that coming???

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  3. Regarding TheCripplegate post of "The Driscoll Drama", if prominent leaders are to take ownership for selling tickets to the show, then James MacDonald should be held in much higher scrutiny since he promoted and produced and profited from the show. Pastor James was so proud to out Driscoll on the pulpit of Harvest; have Driscoll mentor leaders and elders; co-host the Elephant Room(s); take childish selfies as they rudely disrupt a conference; etc...

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  4. Notice that while polygamy, per se, is legal now, it is still illegal to be married to more than one. Of course we know that legally marrying more than one won't be far behind, now that Pandora's box has been opened with same-sex fake marriage; there is now no logical reason to deny legal polygamous marriages.

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  5. I think you'd change your mind if you saw the Chan's book. It's less about marriage and more about the Lordship of Christ and living life with eternity in view. The book has a very high regard for scripture and is rich in teaching overall. Don't judge a book by its video trailer, they're just having some fun; we can do that, right?

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  6. A few questions about Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill.
    According to the Christian Post Mark Dunford (an unpaid lay-pastor) was recently fired (responsible parties unknown) for being a co-author of the document sent to MD. Was this Driscoll's doing or the elder board? If Driscoll, then he is still in charge and all the public fluff is nothing but a show. If the elders, then they are complicit with MD's wishes and goals and just as guilty as he.

    Why now? Why not years ago when all this was young and easier to manage? Has the allure of fame, fortune, power, and a religious dynasty also overcome the elders?

    Surely there are more than nine "elders" in an organization this size, so where are the others on this?

    If reconciliation with all the people he wronged for all these years and repentance before the God he claims to love and serve is MD's goal, then why hire an ecumenical, doctrinally unstable, image re-maker to spin his way back into the good graces of the people he has duped for all these years?

    What fruit of the Spirit has MD ever shown? Where is it found in Gal 5:22&23 that the use of limited truth to bait a hearer to be caught in the web of lies and deceit that is to follow is said to a "fruit of the Spirit"? Driscoll is good at doing this, but there are far more and better "angels of light" in the public "church" in America today, popular and well respected men who have taught lies for decades.

    Is it just me or does all of this have an air of coup-de-ta? If it is, rest assured that the next "pastor" at Mars Hill will be far worse than Mark Driscoll.

    Of all the qualifications you listed, one and perhaps the most important is left unstated: the man must be born again. Driscoll, by his own words and actions has left this highly debatable for some, but for others it is obvious the man is unregenerate. 2 Peter 2 and nearly all of Jude speak about such men. Is Driscoll saved? There is no evidence to say that he is. Will he ever be saved? Only God knows and He has determined that before time began.

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