I was catching up on some of my reading reading and came across a summary of a NY Times article on Mark Driscoll’s Mars Hill Church in Seattle. The summary wasn’t necessarily meant to be kind to the pastor, but emphasized a closing point.
Driscoll’s New Calvinism underscores a curious fact: the doctrine of total human depravity has always had a funny way of emboldening, rather than humbling, its adherents.
This quote seemed to resonate with me. A couple of years ago, I got so sick of being around Calvinists for this primary reason. It seemed I had joined a book of the month club where the members constantly prided themselves on their latest read.
Anyway, anyone who knows me well, knows how I feel about the mega church mentality and about marketing to various crowds. Having said that, I actually like some of the messaging in this article, especially about how they are fairly open to the non-Christians. This certainly stands in stark contrast to the Fundamentalist mentality that seeks to keep company with only its own kind; a practice you never saw with Christ who constantly ministered to everyone he came in contact with and who shunned the religious crowd.
To a certain extent, I find this is a bit refreshing. But I also wonder whether or not it’s truly effective too. Is this ministry making a difference? I certainly hope so. The current trend of Christianity in America is rather sickening. So I welcome anything that might have a hint of realism to it. The idea that Christians are to live in a vacuum has to cease and seeker driven churches need to fall by the way side. There is a distinction to be made between the job of the church and the job of the Christian.
In our current age, it seems we may have things a bit confused. Christians don’t want to be evangelists; that’s for the church to do. Churches don’t seem to want to preach the real and full gospel; that’s left for the Christian to elaborate on. We’ve gone too topical with our sermons and there is no real study any more. What passes for studying is a recap of some author’s book, typically from one of John’s– and not the apostle, but rather John MacArthur or John Piper.
We’re superficial at best. And what passes for depth these days is completely devoid of any compassion. I am all for a Christianity that doesn’t try to mask the human frailty by trying to be more pious than is real. This pastor is known as the cussing pastor. I’m not sure that’s the level of reality I would look for. But I’m also sure he’s not the only one who wanted to.
Read the article for yourself and you decide how you feel. You will have to register with the NY Times. But that’s not a bad thing, and it’s free. Enjoy!