Sunday, May 21, 2006

A Couple of Thoughts on Driscoll

Tim Challies has caused a bit of a stir within the blogosphere with his review--and extended quotation--from Mark Driscoll's book, Confessions of a Reformission Rev. I think Tim's post was fair and raised legitimate issues--though I do wish that his extended quotation (which is causing all the heat) had been set in context more than it was.

Thus far Tim's review has garnered 174 comments--a number of them committing the sin of Graceless Slander Under the Guise of Discernment and Doctrinal Fidelity. I hope that folks read Mark Lauterbach's post on the subject as well.

I don't intend to defend Mark's language or to enter into the fray of the debate. But I do pass along a couple of quotes for your consideration.

First, a few months back Mark wrote some pretty sharp words in response to the views of Brian McLaren and Doug Pagitt on homosexuality. He later penned an apology, which reads in part:

A godly friend once asked me an important question: “What do you want to be known for?” I responded that solid theology and effective church planting were the things that I cared most about and wanted to be known for. He kindly said that my reputation was growing as a guy with good theology, a bad temper, and a foul mouth. This is not what I want to be known for. And after listening to the concerns of the board members of the Acts 29 Church Planting Network that I lead, and of some of the elders and deacons at Mars Hill Church that I pastor, I have come to see that my comments were sinful and in poor taste. Therefore, I am publicly asking for forgiveness from both Brian and Doug because I was wrong for attacking them personally and I was wrong for the way in which I confronted positions with which I still disagree. I also ask forgiveness from those who were justifiably offended at the way I chose to address the disagreement. I pray that you will accept this posting as a genuine act of repentance for my sin.

In the end, I do not want my tone and style to get in the way of important discussions and kingdom work. So, my intention is to lean into God’s empowering grace to become a holy man who demonstrates greater self-control. In the future, my prayer is that I could continue to speak with pithy edginess and candor that is also marked by grace and appropriate words. I obviously failed this time. Please forgive me and pray for me.

Secondly, I think we would all do well to listen to the wise counsel of J.C. Ryle, from his book on Holiness:

Above all, I want all Christians to understand what they must expect in other believers. You must not hastily conclude that a man has no grace merely because you see in him some corruption. There are spots on the face of the sun, and yet the sun shines brightly and enlightens the whole world. There is quartz and dross mixed up with many a lump of gold that comes from Australie, and yet who thinks the gold on that account worth nothing at all? There are flaws in some of the finest diamonds in the world, and yet they do not prevent their being rated at a priceless value. Away with this morbid squeamishness, which makes many ready to excommunicate a man if he only has a few faults!

Let us be quick to see grace, and more slow to see imperfections! Let us know that, if we cannot allow there is grace where there is corruption, we shall find no grace in the world.

Thanks to Mark Lauterbach's blog, where I first saw this quote.)