Saturday, January 10, 2009

Mars Hill Makes the NY Times

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/11/magazine/11punk-t.html?pagewanted=1&em

"Who Would Jesus Smack Down?"

An insightful article into Mark Driscoll and the Mars Hill church he leads. The writer spent significant time exploring the Calvinist underpinnings of Driscoll, and I believe she portrayed it accurately. Nice to see a reporter show decent understanding of obscure theological points.

Page 4 talks a little about the brouhaha in 2007 when Mars Hill fired a couple of associate pastors, one of whom, in my youth, was a strong mentor to me, and a close friend of the family.

If ever I had reason to think Mark Driscoll had gone off the deep end, it was this.

Driscoll told the congregation that he asked advice on how to handle stubborn subordinates from a “mixed martial artist and Ultimate Fighter, good guy” who attends Mars Hill. “His answer was brilliant,” Driscoll reported. “He said, ‘I break their nose.’ ” When one of the renegade elders refused to repent, the church leadership ordered members to shun him. One member complained on an online message board and instantly found his membership privileges suspended. “They are sinning through questioning,” Driscoll preached. John Calvin couldn’t have said it better himself.

Funny, that. I just put the finishing touches on tomorrow's sermon, and spent some time pondering these two texts:

Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.
- 1 Peter 5:2-3

"Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
- Mark 10:43-45

What was that again about "not lording it over those entrusted to you?" Oh, yeah.

And where is questioning your leaders listed as a sin in the Bible?

If you want my opinion on who Jesus would smack down, well. . .I'd better not say here.

In all seriousness, though. . .and I don't mean to be offensive. . .and I know some of you attend Mars Hill and respect MD, so take this question as one who is not trying to accuse but who is truly curious - at what point do you cease being a church and become instead a cult? Isn't it just about the time the leader starts threatening people who disagree, start treating faithful servants who just happen to be a little cautious as outcasts, making jokes in front of the church about breaking their noses? Isn't it just about the time you set yourself up as The One who alone can decide what is right and wrong? In my opinion (which probably isn't worth much) Driscoll is heading down an extremely dangerous path here.

2 comments:

Matt said...

with the caveat that all I know about this situation is what you've described here, I'll say this is troubling. disheartening. creepy.

Jim Chen said...

Hi Dan, I'm Jim. Pastor Driscoll doesn't talk like any pastor I've ever known.