Monday, August 22, 2011

Driscoll says "I See Things"

I've always liked Driscoll. Sure, he has been personally criticized by A-list men such as John MacArthur, but he has equally been embraced (with reservation) by other A-list men like John Piper and C.J. Mahanney.  To be honest, Driscoll reminds me a little of the reformer Martin Luther (not the Luther of contemporary glamorization, but the Luther of historical record who was prone to drunkenness, charismatic excesses, and uneven approaches in the interpretation of scripture). 

Martin Luther was used by God in a mighty way, but there is a reason most Reformed believers today rely almost exclusively on John Calvin; simply put: although we love Luther, he was a bit of a nutter. He believed demons hid inside the rafters of his house for the sole purpose of keeping him from getting a good nights sleep. Luther cursed openly and often, regularly using vulgar language in both his sermons and writings. Don't even get me started on his statements regarding the Jews. All in all, he was a rebellious but rather jovial theologian. Few men could needlessly offend worse than Luther, yet few men could boldly proclaim God's truth as well as this German Reformer.

So now we have Driscoll. I'm not sure the Seattle pastor will ever achieve the fame and influence of a Luther (nor am I sure that is even his goal), but regardless of where you stand on Driscoll you have to admit he certainly has great influence among the young reformed crowd. Like his German mentor, he can use crude language and uneven interpretation. For example, his teaching series on Song of Solomon was perhaps one of the most offensive messages I've ever heard. Yet while Driscoll has similarities to Luther, he lacks the Reformers theological depth and exceeds his cultural crudeness.

This is what makes Driscoll such a difficulty. His doctrine of salvation is superb, and he preaches this regularly and boldly. One has to love his passion for God's truth, but biblical maturity would seem to require a distancing from some of his methods and language. 

For this reason I have had to practice defacto separation from Driscoll. I don't believe things have risen to the point (as of yet) where full biblical separation is required, but on a practical level I cannot endorse Driscoll's teaching materials. For the moment, I would side with John Piper who said, 
“The difference between John MacArthur and I at this point is I am not drawing the line that John has drawn from the imperfections of Mark’s ministry to his unfitness of his ministry. I’m not going there at this point. I’m going to Mark. I’m getting in his face now…”I’m old enough to be his dad, he knows that, and I’m in his face, pleading with him…."
Both MacArthur and Piper are deeply concerned about this man's ministry. MacArthur has chosen to draw his line, whereas Piper has decided to wait--even while publicly and privately calling for Driscoll to mature.

Though the above discussion has focused on the general crudess of Driscoll's ministry, I have equal concerns regarding his uneven hermenuetic. At times he is solidly biblical and expository in his approach to God's Word. At other times he is...well...not.   A friend recently sent me a link to this video clip where Driscoll seems to be claiming that he has the miraculous gift of "seeing things" in the lives of others. To be sure, this teaching doesn't cross over into the realm of heresy. It's just odd, and as my friend said "unhinged from the mooring of scripture". 


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