What does “Pastor” Mark Driscoll think about the British Church?

I know a lot of people who follow Mark Driscoll and enjoy his teaching. They are encouraged by him, and find his teaching accessible, relevant and challenging. Whilst this may be so, I have just returned from a short holiday break to find that Mark Driscoll has been all over the Christian news for saying this…

Let’s just say this: right now, name for me the one young, good Bible teacher that is known across Great Britain. You don’t have one – that’s the problem. There are a bunch of cowards who aren’t telling the truth.

The source of this quote may be found here.

Apparently, the Christian Today online newspaper had taken his quote out of context. There is also an audio interview which you can hear here.

Whatever the case, this is bad press for Driscoll, and I’m afraid to say that a controversial American pastor commenting on the British Church in such a negative way will not go down well with us Brits whether it’s true or not.

His blog post seems to be full of assumptions, to my mind. To comment on his points…

1. “You are in a cultural context that is more non-Christian, and even anti-Christian, than even the most liberal cities in the United States.”

He then uses his visiting preaching agenda to justify this statement, and then goes on to say that those preaching the gospel are working in ‘tough soil’ and then thanks them. If this is true (which it probably is) then his quote is simply unfair. People are working hard, they are preaching the Gospel, they are telling the truth. And adding to that, there are many good Bible teachers in the UK. Most of them aren’t known because they’re working in the hard soil, as opposed to gallivanting around the world to preach at conferences (not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course)

2. “You have great pressure from the media and even some legal liability that can cause preachers and teachers to whisper their beliefs rather than proclaim them. This is unfortunate, but it’s reality, not unlike the early church preaching the gospel in the face of the Roman Empire. More than ever, humble courage is required!”

Yeah, we do have a lot of pressure on us, and we know it a lot more than Mark Driscoll does himself (in light of our cultural situation in the UK). And most of the preachers I’ve ever known don’t whisper the gospel, actually. A lot of the preachers I know have immense courage, whilst being humble enough to get on with this hard work without complaining or grumbling.

3. “Please do not compromise on essential doctrinal issues. Please do not back down from the perfection, authority, and sufficiency of Scripture as the very Word of God. Please do not shy away from talking about sin and allowing your preaching and teaching to devolve into vaguely spiritual self-help principles. Please do not be ashamed of the foolishness of the cross, where Jesus died in our place for our sins enduring the wrath of God we deserve. Please do not be timid to call people to repent of sin and trust in Jesus Christ alone for salvation, as apart from him there is no forgiveness of sin and reconciliation with God. And please do not deny the reality of a literal, conscious, eternal torment in hell, because people are going there and lying to them it not loving them!”

Hmm. But some people do not agree on literal, conscious, eternal torment in hell. So, are they the cowards? Careful, Pastor Mark!

He then goes on about raising up the next Spurgeon and so on and so forth. I don’t know about you, but I don’t understand why Mark Driscoll expects us to encourage worldwide speakers who are known. In fact, I don’t ever recall Jesus telling people to become amazing preachers and making sure you get Christian fame. He said go and make disciples of all nations.

Food for thought.  Krish Kandiah has also written about this controversial issue.

In short, whether Mark Driscoll was quoted in context or not, his blog post clearly indicates that he doesn’t think much of God’s church in the UK. Stereotypical British-American friction then. As for me, I have great hopes for the British church. And I’m glad that the church in the UK is growing. Of course, Mark’s closing words in his blog post are…

In the providence of God, I trust everything will sort itself out in time. The best thing is to not waste time blogging, twittering, and talking about me. I was not born of a virgin, have not lived without sin, and am not going to judge the living and the dead. Jesus is all that matters.

Very true. Maybe I shouldn’t waste my time talking about Mark Driscoll. But I’m quite concerned that Driscoll is talking in such controversial ways. Especially in light of Ephesians 4:1-5:

1 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

I’m in no position to judge Mark Driscoll. But I do have concern for preachers who are constantly in the news for saying controversial things that don’t sound like Jesus, whether they’re fluffily liberals or orthodox evangelicals.

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Dean Roberts

Dean is a Minister in the Anglican Church. Currently he is Curate in the parishes of Bedwas, Machen, Michaelston-y-Fedw and Rudry in South Wales. He was born and bred in Wales, is married to Megan, and has two dogs called Taliesin and Melyn, and two cats named Sinsir and Hâf. He graduated from Cardiff University with a BA Hons. in Theology & Religious Studies, and has studied for an MA in Theology, Ministry & Mission at Trinity College Bristol. He also holds a Cert.RSCM from the Royal School of Church Music. He loves playing music, walking, reading, blogging and horse riding as well as going to the cinema and theatre. Read More @ http://deanroberts.net/about