Sunday, January 11, 2009

Is this really an improvement?...

The mainstream church, Driscoll has written, has transformed Jesus into "a Richard Simmons, hippie, queer Christ," a "neutered and limp-wristed popular Sky Fairy of pop culture that . . . would never talk about sin or send anyone to hell." (Pastor Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church, quoted in the New York Times)

This article paints Mark Driscoll as the next new voice of the evangelical church. It showcases Driscoll's penchant for being cool and vulgar, and images him as a success. And then it delivers the worst news: But what is new about Driscoll is that he has resurrected a particular strain of fire and brimstone, one that most Americans assume died out with the Puritans: Calvinism, a theology that makes Pat Robertson seem warm and fuzzy.

Oh, goody. That's sure an improvement, isn't it?...

Of course, I could get irked about Driscoll's pre-occupation with all things masculine and sexual, showing disdain for anything that does not come from strength and testosterone. He tosses around language like "queer" and "chickified dudes with limp wrists” with abandon, and that still annoys me. But that's just not central, here.

The thing that is central to my concern is that predestination is one of the most un-Godly theologies I can imagine. I cannot believe, as the article states, that "Reducing God to a projection of our own wishes trivializes divine sovereignty and fails to explain how both good and evil have a place in the divine plan." This is the kind of nonsense that says that since God is sovereign, supreme and omnipotent, then it was God's will that directed the tsunami to kill a quarter of a million of His kids, believers and unbelievers alike. (Presumably the believers who died were predestined for hell, anyway.)

I have, in fact, always had a problem with the idea of predestination - mostly because of the annoying tendency of those who believe in it to believe that they are, in fact, among the predestined themselves. Thus good things that happen to Calvinists are proof of God's favor, and bad things just show who's really in and who's really out.

In short, they don't win any points with me.

Maybe I'm all wet, but as I remember, Jesus didn't spend a lot of time telling anyone that they (specifically) were going to hell. He spent a lot of time telling the Pharisees (who LOVED telling people they were "in" or "out") that they were liars and "vipers' brood" and other complex theological names.

I find no humility, no scrap of Christ in this "evangelical" theology. I find no trace of the Sermon on the Mount here. I admire some of what Mark Driscoll has done, even agree with some of what he has written.

But I'm afraid that the core of the message he shares is how Max Lucado described the soldiers who crucified Jesus - "close to the Cross, but far from Christ."


Michael said...

I could not locate the article from which you quoted, so my remarks may be way off base here.

One, I think all media efforts to identify the "new voice of the evangelical church" only prove (i) who the new person is that they have noticed, (2) that the last person they anointed with this title doesn't seem to be working out and (3) that there is no unified new voice because there is no unifying voice out there.

Two, it sounds to me like Driscoll and ilk think that the rest of us are reducing God to a projection of our own wishes while ignoring the fact that they also (or maybe only they) are doing that very thing.

Three, the whole attack on queers and limp-writs is just a throw=back to the Victorian "muscular Christianity" movement, which produced amazing picture books of Christian body builders that anyone could see were aimed at homosexual readers, not heterosexual manly Christians.

These people need to hang out at Siloam and hope someone will come open their eyes.

Anonymous said...

this guy seriously scares the crap out of me... he is very dangerous