Contend Earnestly: When Christian Bashing Becomes Ridiculous

Thursday, September 18, 2008

When Christian Bashing Becomes Ridiculous

About three years ago we had a pastor come out and give a quick reprise of the emergent movement and also the seeker movement. Up here in Seattle, we seem to have both running pretty rampant. What I found in his words though, impacted me greatly.

He went through some of the dangers in both movements and why he would not employ their strategies and also some of their theologies. When speaking specifically of Rick Warren and the Purpose Driven Life/Church he ended up making a great point. He said, "When we are in heaven, and I don't pretend to know if this is what will happen, and we are sitting and speaking to each other, this isn't what I want to happen:

Saint Peter: So, Pastor Warren, in what ways did you try and glorify Christ?

Pastor Warren: I tried to implement strategies in winning as many people as I could to Christ. Some of them worked, some of them didn't, but my heart was to truly reach people for the sake of Christ.

Saint Peter: That sounds very interesting. I am glad to know that your heart was to win people to Christ. So, Seth, in what ways did you try and glorify Christ?

Seth: (pointing at Rick Warren, who is sitting in heaven) I tried to refute everything he was doing.

End Quote

I wonder what Peter, or anyone in heaven, would think of that conversation? At some point you have to make your point known on where you stand and then move on. So, if you disagree with someone (focus is on Christian brothers and sisters here), great, let it be known. But to continue to make it your mission to beat down guys like Driscoll, MacArthur, Warren, Piper, et al, you are going to sound ridiculous when you get to heaven and show off your fruit of really self exaltation of "why you were right."

With that said, I am only going to mention this once and will be done. I believe that Steve Camp is going over the edge with his absolute hatred of Driscoll, Tripp and Piper. If it isn't seems to be. He seems to take stands more on why these preachers of Christ are wrong, than other seemingly more important things. Steve...make your point and walk away.

Alright, that is my only rant, I will not bring up Steve Camp again. I just needed to give warning. From what I know, I will see Steve in heaven. We will glorify the Lamb together, and might even sing some of his songs there. But, I wish that he would switch gears here. He is viciously attacking God's own preachers and teachers. You can take a look at these two recent posts:

Let My Words Magnify the Lord: ...a plea and prayer to the young, restless, pseudo-reformed and emerging ->worship Jesus Christ with reverence

PAUL TRIPP-ING - HE REALLY LIKES TO SAY THE "S" WORD...has Piper lost his mind or just forgotten his Bible?

Let's be a people that show more of what we are for, than what we are against.

I am for Christ and Him glorified. Period. May his name be praised.


Anonymous said...

From someone not connected to the north american scene I'd have to say that Steve Camp's belligerence does not enhance the cause of the gospel. I happened to stumble across his blog last night and all I could read was a lot of self righteous bible bashing and cynicism. Maybe he does have some points to say that may be well intended as a corrective to his perceived errors of others. However the public vitriol is wearing thin. Either God is blessing the ministry of Piper, Driscoll or not. If it is not of God - ie the fruit of repentance and people coming to Christ - then what we are seeing will fail. Don't get too hung up about it. I grew up in a denomination that continually nit picked at other christians and all I saw and felt at the end of the day was a cranky self righteous group of men who couldn't stand being with any but their own kind. (Yes they were of the Reformed faith... but unfortunately they experientially did not know the grace, rich in Christ - only head knowledge. Frankly they were legalists deep down. Real grace killers) It was even said that we were not to associate with any other christians outside our true church denomination.

I wonder how a fairly perceptive wise counsellor such as Don Carson has recently been associated with teaching with Mark Driscoll here in Australia? Surely Mark hasn't hood winked Don as well as Piper?

Steve if you have something to say to these men - say it in private. And be gracious and prayful enough that you may accept their answers, rather than writing them off as blights on your love feasts.

jen said...

Seth, you've made a really great point here with the imagined conversation in heaven, and I totally agree with you. No one's ministry should be defined by their criticism of others.

But how does this apply to Mr Camp? Are you really applying that to him? He makes many, many posts having nothing to do with critiquing the emergent church, or anyone else, for that matter. You've only cited two posts on that.

All I'm saying is that I'd hardly say that his ministry is defined by critiquing the emergent church.

Seth McBee said...

Hey Jen.
I understand that he makes many posts about other critiques. But, he has also had many posts against the emerging churches (notice not emergent) of the USA. Not only is it found in the posts that he has, but also found in the comments section to where the refusal to back down, even when shown his obvious mistakes. He is trying to make a point without care.

Meaning. Even if the argument is incoherant and not biblically based, he doesn't care, he will continue to argue it for the sake of ripping these guys into shreds.

I only cited two posts, because they are the most recent. There have been others and the lengths that he goes to argue against godly men is amazing.

Mr. Camp seems to be one that has more of a chip on his shoulder than anything else. I am not sure why, but this is something that many people are seeing with him.

This is why I put forth a warning to that extent. It seems, from reading a lot of his posts, that we know more of what Steve is against, than what he is for.


jen said...

I haven't been out and about in the blogosphere much in recent months because we have a seasonal business that just recently slowed down a bit. Maybe I haven't read everything you have. I've only been able to skim Mr Camp's articles since early spring, and I haven't been involved in many of the comment threads. I've noticed a lot of Biblical posts, and a lot of posts that deal with the culture and politics.

Honestly, I can't say that I've seen any chip. I just thought he posted on current events a lot, in the world and the church.

Anonymous said...

Jen, I would have to agree with Seth that Steve seems to have a chip on his shoulder.

To me he seems very arrogant and self righteous. I don't want to bash him, but it is sad that one can not have a civil conversation with him.

jen said...

I realize that you have your experiences and you're certainly entitled to your opinions, but it's not my experience that one cannot have a civil conversation with him.

Anonymous said...


this conversation here reminds me of the old saying that goes something like this:

Oh the Saints in Heaven, full of Grace and Glory,

Oh the Saints on earth, well, that's another story!

I wholeheartedly agree with your end admonition!

Thanks for boldly making it!

To the Lord Alone be all the Glory!

Here would be the admonition I will hide behind then:::>

2Co 13:11 Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.
2Co 13:12 Greet one another with a holy kiss.
2Co 13:13 All the saints greet you.
2Co 13:14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, I thought I was the only one.

It is important that we hold teachers accountable, and voicing problems with teachers can express grace to people who may be led astray, but Camp's comments were slanderous, bitter, and arrogant.

jen said...

Well, I don't know guys, but it seems to me that this Campi bashing is getting ridiculous...

To borrow from the irony of your title.

Anonymous said...

Jen I love it how you are getting mad here that we are talking about Campi and how he is acting. Yet on his blog you are calling Driscoll a blasphemer. Again it seems like Campi has nothing edifying to say and just has a bashing attitude.

Seth McBee said...



I think what you are seeing as that I have made my post, and these guys have made their comments.

You will notice I am not going to keep it up with Campi. I have made my point and am going to move on. I would bet the same will be done with the other commenters as well.

Hopefully, in time, you will see the difference between what I have done in one post, and how Campi will continue to trash in multiple posts and comments.

There is a difference.

By the way. If you don't believe there is a difference (or you have additional questions), why don't we email each other privately so that it doesn't look like I am just trying to continue to bash or wrongly assert anything against Campi publicly.

My email is sdmcbee at hotmail dot com

jen said...

Mike, you love it that I am "getting mad'? First of all, I'm not the least bit mad about this. I know you don't know me, so you'll just have to trust me on that. :) But it doesn't seem very nice to love it if I were.

Seth, I have no trouble with you stating your opinion on the matter in this post. But I do hope that someone will notice that there is a difference between this and what Campi is doing. I don't think it's bashing at all to be highly offended that there is a distinct trend of ministers of the gospel having potty mouths in the pulpit and the written word. Mr Camp is speaking out about mere men. These men are bringing a huge blight on a Holy God. That is a huge difference.

What Driscoll has said about a Holy God is blasphemy, Mike. And I could get mad about that, but mostly I'm just grieved.

Seth McBee said...

I don't want to become a Dricoll Male cheerleader here, but I also don't want men of God to be said that they are blaspheming if they aren't.

Can I simply ask where you see that Driscoll has blasphemed God?

jen said...

Sure, I can answer that. I assumed you'd all been over at the comment thread in question, but I'll copy and paste here.

First, here's the definition of blasphemy from which I used the word:

Blasphemy is the disrespectful use of the name of one or more gods... In a broader sense, blasphemy is irreverence toward something considered sacred or inviolable.

Here are the comments attributed to Driscoll which I find fit the above definition:

"learn Jesus without feeling like we had a thinly veiled homosexual relationship."

Describing Jesus: "a classic underachiever with no wife, kids, stable job, career, or even much of a home."

"...everytime they see Jesus, it agitates them that he is always surrounded by a crowd, telling knock-knock jokes to miscreants who love his sense of humor (because his perfection had to have included comedic timing)."

"Yes,....Jesus went No.1 and No.2 perfectly,....never got the toilet all wet." Mark also had to add, "He had the boy part."

There is much more in the comment thread of Mr Camp's post. The comment was posted late last night with a timestamp of 01:43, if you want to read the rest.

Seth McBee said...

Not sure of how many sermons you have heard Driscoll preach, but let me give some reasonings behind these...and I have heard all these (I think) and will tell you why I don't believe they are blasphemy:

"learn Jesus without feeling like we had a thinly veiled homosexual relationship."

This is actually spoken of in many understandings of what the Victorian era of history gave us. They painted pictures and wrote poetry showing Jesus to be basically..almost female. This has crossed into our worship music by many of those in the CCM. Because most of the art that is historically famous of Christ is from the Victorian era, it looks like Jesus is female, not male. He is wearing a dress, with pink blush on and his hair is feathered. Mark's point is that this is not what is described in the Bible. So, when Mark makes the above point, it isn't directed at Jesus, it is directed at the misdirection of the influence of the Victorian era.

Describing Jesus: "a classic underachiever with no wife, kids, stable job, career, or even much of a home."

He again, is not trying to degrade Jesus. He was just portraying in today's words what Christ was perceived as in the Jewish day. They would have seen him as an "underachiever" and he didn't have a wife, kids, job, career or even much of a home...all that is biblically correct. It just isn't said in the King James verbage

"...everytime they see Jesus, it agitates them that he is always surrounded by a crowd, telling knock-knock jokes to miscreants who love his sense of humor (because his perfection had to have included comedic timing)."

I can't remember exactly why this was used. But, I remember Mark at one point saying that Jesus must have been very interesting for complete sinners to keep inviting him to parties. And, by Christ going to these parties, it really pissed off the Pharisees.

"Yes,....Jesus went No.1 and No.2 perfectly,....never got the toilet all wet." Mark also had to add, "He had the boy part."

This actually comes from the sermon where Driscoll is pointing to Christ's humanity. He isn't trying to depict Jesus in an unworthy manner. He is trying to convey to people in Seattle that Jesus was actually a man. Because whether you like it or not, Jesus did go to the bathroom and did have "boy parts" Again, he was trying to portray this in a sermon about Jesus' humanity.

Let me know if you have any other questions or disagree with me on this.

Hope all is well.

jen said...

Seth, thanks for your response. I have to run out for a while, and I will be reading your comment more carefully when I get back home.


jen said...

I'm back. First, I have to tell you that I've never listened to one sermon of Mark Driscoll's. I hope you don't feel that disqualifies me from having any opinion. I don't buy the argument that I have to listen to or read everything someone says to be able to have any discernment. I have read enough blog posts using direct quotes of his to have an understanding of what he says. And no, not only at Camp On This. Many other bloggers and pastors have issue with his speech.

IOW, in the same way that I don't have to drink antifreeze to know for sure that it's not good for me, I don't have to subject myself to unwholesome language to know that it also is not beneficial.

Ok. The first comment. I have seen much of the Victorian depiction of Jesus. And I can see what he's saying, but I don't understand why it was necessary. We are not living in the Victorian era, and really the point could have been made in more mature language than to invoke imagery that was unnecessary. In no way does the Bible present an effeminate Jesus. Why can he not just preach the Word? Also, why would there even be any possibility that he would feel they had a 'thinly veiled homosexual relationship' in the first place?

Second comment: I still can't see that it's justified to call Him an underachiever when frankly He is the only One to have ever really achieved anything of worth? Aren't there any better ways to get a point across without lowering the King of kings to the lowest human level?

Third comment: Again, why is the flippant language necessary? Do we really think that Christ was telling knock-knock jokes? Of course not. Then why paint that mental image, and thus, lower Him in our eyes?

Last comment: Have to say again, there are better ways of getting the valid point of Christ's humanity across than to use such word pictures.

I would ask one thing. What language has he ever used to express the holiness of Jesus? How does he describe His righteousness?

See, I used to cuss like nobody's business. If I were to listen to a steady diet of my pastor talking in this way, I'd likely drop back into that. But God convicted me of my indecent language when He redeemed me. Why would I want to hear such a holy, worthy Saviour described in my old gutter language?

It just makes no sense to me.

Cathy Mickels said...


What a breath of fresh air to hear you defend and protect the integrity and purity of the Word of God. It is no small thing when we gradually begin accepting the adding to or the taking away from Scripture. Once we go down this road, where will it end?

Seth, since I have spoken with you at length over the reckless faith of Mark Driscoll, I will try not to go back over covered ground. However, your response and explanation to Jen for Mark's foul statement that he had to learn to "love Jesus without feeling like we had a thinly veiled homosexual relationship," still does not excuse Mark planting this idea in the mind of his audience. Furthermore, he revisits this idea on other occasions. In fact, only a couple of paragraphs over from that comment in his book, he builds on this word picture saying another pastor taught him in a way "that enabled me to have a relationship with Jesus that did not feel like he was my lifelong prom date." Can't you see that even that statement is meant to put a smile on your face. A man of God should never, never, never plant ideas in others that undermines the holiness and reverence for our Savior.

In Jeremiah we read, "MY PEOPLE DO ERROR BY ......THEIR RECKLESSNESS." (Jeremiah 23:32) ".....FOR YOU HAVE PERVERTED THE WORDS OF THE LIVING GOD." (Jeremiah 23:36)

Mark Driscoll seems to be able to make a joke about anything in Scripture. How about his dirty joke about Galatians 5 regarding circumcision, which he calls the "cut off your pickle joke." Or, how about the joke he made up about Ezekiel 4, calling it "poopy comedy." He laughs as he retells the story saying, "God said to Ezekiel,....go to the bathroom, and stack up the feces, light the poop on fire and cook over it." Can't you see that by getting you to laugh about this serious passage of God's word, Mark is not only missing the entire point, but also undermining God's word?

Mark even goes so far as to say that all good comedy begins in Genesis, describing the Old Testament as a "hillbilly, redneck comedy."

Mark Driscoll has no authority to go beyond what is written in God's word. For sure, there is nothing wrong with a pastor telling a joke etc but NEVER, NEVER, NEVER at the expense of Scripture or the character of Christ.

Besides Mark handling the Word of God carelessly, some of his other subject matter has actually been embarrassing to read out loud to my son and daughter, who are in their twenties. I am starting to wonder if he wants publicity- good or bad.

As a pastor he should be above reproach.....and he should not be talking or acting in a way that would ever cause anyone to question his ministry.

Seth, there is something wrong......Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.

As for Steve Camp, he is a watchman on the wall, and there are times when a public rebuke is necessary. In fact, J.C.Ryle (1816-1900) in his book, Warnings to the Churches, details the account in Scripture of Paul rebuking Peter for the mixed message he was sending to the church. In Galatians 2:11-16, it says, "Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him [Peter] to his face, because he was to be blamed." Ryle states, "....he [Paul] reproves Peter publicly for his error in front of all the church at Antioch. He goes even further: He writes an account of the matter which is now read in hundreds of different languages all over the world."

Ryle writes that we ought to learn from this passage that "ministers may make great mistakes" and that preserving truth is even more important than keeping peace."Now why did he do this? ...because he [Paul] knew that a little leaven leavens the whole lump."

It is for Truths sake that Steve Camp is speaking out. As Ryle says, "There are times when controversy is not only a duty but a benefit....I am satisfied that those who wilfully put up with anything short of the whole truth will find at last that their souls have received much damage."

Seth, if you are close to Mark Driscoll, out of love for your friend and for the bride of Christ, speak to him.

A Sister in Christ,

jen said...

Cathy, thanks for your comment, which said it much better than mine did. I looked at your blog -- you should write more often! :)

M. Van Drie said...

"As for Steve Camp, he is a watchman on the wall, and there are times when a public rebuke is necessary"

For what wall... his. See he never argued from Scripture that what Tripp, Piper, or Driscoll said was wrong. Now Driscoll has said things that is wrong and has apologized for it.

The other thing is that when Paul did rebuked Peter it was nothing like how Steve is trying to do it. He is being arrogant, not backed by scripture. He is just using culture to try to prove his point. Don't try to justify Camps arrogance and pride as protecting the faith.

Anonymous said...

I will wade into the deep or thick of it.

Cathy, commenting Jen and complimenting her stand for the Righteous and Pure Word of God, I commend you.

However, you wrote:
[[However, your response and explanation to Jen for Mark's foul statement that he had to learn to "love Jesus without feeling like we had a thinly veiled homosexual relationship," still does not excuse Mark planting this idea in the mind of his audience. Furthermore, he revisits this idea on other occasions. In fact, only a couple of paragraphs over from that comment in his book, he builds on this word picture saying another pastor taught him in a way "that enabled me to have a relationship with Jesus that did not feel like he was my lifelong prom date."]]

I would take some exception to that. Don't you suppose you might be minimizing the "ability" of God in all this?

When we 'step' over the line ourselves and make statements like that that I highlighted you made above in commenting to Jen, you yourself are implying God is not capable of dealing with the error of His Servants.

I highly doubt you would agree with yourself now that I point it out, would you?

Consider these verses as told to us through a "servant" of the Lord, by his own accounting of what Jesus taught His abilities are:

Joh 16:7 Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.
Joh 16:8 And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment:
Joh 16:9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in me;
Joh 16:10 concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer;
Joh 16:11 concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.
Joh 16:12 "I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.
Joh 16:13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.
Joh 16:14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

While I stand and embrace my brother and yours, Jeremiah, cited by you, I cannot stand with you in those words I highlighted above from you.

God is well able to do just as He has said!

1Th 5:23 Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1Th 5:24 He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.

Seth McBee said...

Thanks for stopping by. I really appreciate the conversation. I really do...I never mind being challenged on stuff.

As far as Steve Camp being a defender of truth, I would be of different opinion completely, but I promised I wouldn't focus on him, so I am leaving that whole comment alone about Steve alone by Cathy.

As far as everything else, it seems to me that most of what you guys deem as vulgar or flippant, really comes down to preference. I really believe this.

Jen. You asked about Mark's references to God's holiness...there are too many preachings to go over where he is solemn and depicts Christ and his holiness in a way that would make you "glad." To start you could try and find his messages on "The Cross of Christ" and listen to the ones about what Christ accomplished on the cross.

I am not trying to be rude here, but just asking a question. Do you believe that joking is ever permitted in the pulpit? Or vulgarity for the purspose of biblical exposition? If you say no to either one of these we will never get anywhere in this discussion.

One more thing about Mars Hill as a whole. People keep saying that Mark has no love for Christ or that his ministry is a ministry of Satan...which astounds me. But consider this:

Acts 29 network has literally planted hundreds of churches all over the world.

Acts 29 network/Mark Driscoll continue to do conferences where cost is terribly low and service and ministry is first class. I just went to the Biblical Parenting Conference and it was only $35 per couple. We got free breakfast, and free child care, etc. Awesome.

Acts 29/the Resurgence gives everything that they have away for free. Their heart is to help pastors and people to glorify Jesus more. Including free streaming online content during the conference, and free video/audio downloads.

On that last note...your boy John MacArthur charges for almost everything. He was still charging for streaming conference stuff until everyone made a fuss. He still charges to download videos from his conferences...

I just find this interesting.

The last parts don't mean that Driscoll is necessarily for Christ, but it sure doesn't help your case against him.

Seth McBee said...

Jen and Cathy.

One more thing.

Would you be mad if I spoke about whoredom from the pulpit and the church wanting their breast fondled by their idols and going after idols because their genitals were big like donkeys and they cummed like that of horses?

Is the above considered too vulgar?

jen said...

Perhaps I'll look into Driscoll's preaching on the cross of Christ.

No, I don't think that a pastor can never joke from the pulpit -- I just find it appalling to make Christ the butt of the jokes.

As far as vulgarity? It depends on what you're talking about and how it's handled. The passage cited in your last comment is Biblical, but could be handled in a delicate fashion. It clearly speaks of judgment, so where would there be any room for joking about it?

The point is, Driscoll is apparently known for course jesting -- almost like a comedian. Doesn't that say something in itself?

BTW, I've never said he doesn't love Christ or that his ministry is of satan. Not sure why you included that.

And while John MacArthur is certainly not 'my boy', I do appreciate his expositional preaching. Do I agree with everything he does? No, but we are talking about mere men here. One thing I really do appreciate is his consistent respectful treatment of God from the pulpit and in the written word.

Seth McBee said...


None of the above jokes/vulgarity pointed Jesus as being a "butt of a joke"

None of them.

As far as Driscoll being known for "course jesting" that is not his issue or his problem, that is just what people bring out from his ministry.

That isn't the whole of his ministry.

I am not comparing Driscoll to Christ here, so don't worry...

But, Jesus was said that his ministry was focused on being a drunkard and a glutton...does this mean that this was the actual focus of his ministry? No. But his accusers wanted to paint him in a bad light...I see the same with people that just want to cast Driscoll is sad.

If someone actually takes time to look at the whole of his and Mars Hill ministry, they would be shocked...but that would take way too much they like to pull out things that they disagree with and love to wave it around and say "see, he doesn't love Jesus."

That is ridiculous. also said:

BTW, I've never said he doesn't love Christ or that his ministry is of satan. Not sure why you included that.

I didn't say that you said this nor was that my intention. The point was showing how ridiculous people can get with trying to trash someone.

As far as MacArthur...I just wanted to bring something up, not discredit his ministry. But, if I wanted I could start really focusing on that and all his faults...but how is this helpful? Do I believe that Johnny Mac love Jesus and desires that people love Jesus too? Yes. Does he say some really stupid stuff? Yes.

If we get nitpicky or we start using what we think is wrong or think is right, we will start really getting into a lot that isn't helpful.

If someone doesn't believe that Driscoll is a godly man that loves Jesus, that person has some real issues and I would bet that they have never been to Seattle, seen the struggle out here, or really ever truly taken the time to take a look into the deep impacts of ministry that Mars Hill Seattle has done for us in the Northwest.

I know people who don't agree 100% with Mark and would even disagree with how he handles some "crude" stuff, but still know that Christ is using his ministry and praise him for that.

My point in all this, is that you guys need to be real careful before you start just bashing someone who loves Jesus deeply and the real reason that you bash is that Mark is different than the preachers you are used to.

Based on the OT prophets and NT writers and Jesus himself, the way that Mark draws attention people to their sin and then to the cross of Christ, he is closer to a biblical understanding of a preacher than most.

jen said...

I've never said that Christ is not using his ministry. I know that He can use anything He chooses. I've already mentioned that I've not listened to any of his sermons -- just picked up pieces of them here and there. I know enough about the blogosphere to know that quotes can and are taken out of context at times, so I don't form opinions based solely on a small quote.

But I still have trouble with the imagery of Mary 'knocking boots' with some guy. It's just not at all necessary to get the point across. A lot of the things he says are designed to get a laugh, are they not? Or at least, the laughter does come, right?

I really don't feel that I've been 'bashing' Driscoll. I'm sorry that you feel I have. Just because I feel strongly about how the Word of God should be handled with respect does not mean I am bashing anyone.

Seth McBee said...


Mark using the term "knocking boots" is just your opinion on what makes you uncomfortable or not.

The reference again is what the Jews would have thought about Mary...not what she actually did.

It's just called contextualization.

Sorry it doesn't fit in your context of what is appropriate. If I were you...I just wouldn't listen to him or read his books...because everything you point out, or Cathy points out...

It's just preference, nothing that is not sound orthodoxy.

There have been some things that Mark has said, where I have simply said, "I wouldn't have stated that way."

You have to realize when it is just preference and not blasphemy.

And as far as you "bashing" bad...I shouldn't have used that towards have been asking questions and looking for my response...sorry I used that with you...

It still applies to Cathy though ;)

Again...if I were you...just be careful as you take a look at any ministry and decide if it is preference or blasphemy. If it heretical or orthodoxy.

Those are the main points that need to be addressed as we investigate anyone's ministry.

Like I said before...I deeply respect John MacArthur, but some of the stuff he has done or said, makes me want to scream. And there are many points of his ministry that I don't like out of preference, not out of disagreeing in his orthodoxy.

Make sense?

Ask away...I really don't mind.

jen said...

Ok, had to laugh this time. Of course I know that's not what Mary actually did, and I know that's not what Driscoll was saying she actually did. :) I understood the point -- just thought the terminology was unnecessary. Yes, that's my preference. But do you think Mary (or more importantly Jesus) would appreciate that illustration? And do you think that God-fearing folks would have put it that way in her day? Somehow I don't think so.

Once again, the sense of the word blasphemy that I was alluding to was this: 'blasphemy is irreverence toward something considered sacred or inviolable.'

I honestly believe that many of the statements made are irreverent. Why would you not have chosen to describe things in the way he has at times?

One more thing: I wouldn't use heresy to describe his ministry either. I simply don't know enough of what he teaches to come close to determining that. And I can't remember anyone saying he's heretical -- have they?

What things that MacArthur has done or said have made you want to scream?

Seth McBee said...

Sorry Jen.
I am not going to turn this into me stating what I disagree on with MacArthur...

But..there is a lot

The reason that I don't describe things the way Driscoll has at times is merely because of the church I serve in. They couldn't "take" some of it. Which is have to know your audience.

This is also why MacArthur doesn't look funny in his suit in his church...that is just how people dress at his church.

Like I is mostly preference here.

Just because Driscoll describes Mary being a whore as her "knocking boots" instead, doesn't mean it is blasphemy.

I actually think he made it "easier to take" than saying that the people of Israel thought Mary was a slut.

Again...terminology that you aren't comfortable with doesn't make it blasphemy.

think about it:

crap vs poop vs "s____"

What makes one "okay" and the others not?

sucks vs stinks?

piss vs pee vs urinate?

ass vs butt vs rear end?

whore vs harlot vs slut?

I think at some point we have to make sure we know who we are speaking to and what they are comfortable with to a point and then also ask, "What would God desire me to use right now?"

Harlot isn't a word that is widely used today, so I prefer to use the term whore and slut when referring to Israel and us when speaking of our idols.

It is classical contextualization.

If you want more to read about this you can read this post on contextualization: What is Contextualization?

jen said...

Sorry Jen.
I am not going to turn this into me stating what I disagree on with MacArthur...

Didn't know that's what I was doing. I only asked out of curiosity because you brought it up. My apologies. (Although your linked article apparently answers my question in part...)

They couldn't "take" some of it. Which is have to know your audience.

I think this pinpoints part of my concern with it. Why is it ok in some places and not in others? Our audience is actually Christ -- not the people. If standing face to face with Him, would your manner of speaking change at all?

I'll go read your article on contextualization now.

jen said...

Ok, I read the post, and the comments too. I see your point, but I tend to align more with the thinking presented in the comment by Stefan. And I appreciated Puritan including the whole MacArthur quote. That made a difference in my understanding of what he actually said. I'd like to hear his entire message on this.

I also went to the link of the 'Irish Calvinist', and found this, which I tend to agree with regarding the situation: MacArthur warned against and chided those (without naming names) who plant sexual or sensual images in folks’ minds and then try to recover them and use them for a spiritual (even orthodox) end. Worldliness, MacArthur said, “is anything said or done that appeals to the flesh.”

I think my concern comes in with the attempt to contextualize potentially crossing over into sin -- either by the spoken words of the pastor, or the result in the minds of the hearers.

We are not to be like the world in order to appeal to them. Should I dress like a prostitute in order to share the gospel with one?

Seth McBee said...

Yeah...that post shows one of the big errors that I see in Mac. He also is a hypocrite in that area. He preaches one thing and does another in some cases on his points. Not in speech but in contextualization in other ways.

Should you dress like a prostitute?

That wouldn't be modest.

jen said...

Exactly. It wouldn't be modest, and would therefore be sin on my part, and potentially the cause of the sin of some who might see me.

That's the same way I believe about unwholesome speech and course jesting. It's sin on the part of the speaker, and can engender sin on the part of the hearer.

Seth McBee said...

The problem with your comment still comes with...How do you define unwholesome speech and coarse jesting?

As far as one of your other comments where you stated that Jesus is our only are so off on that note it is ridiculous. You would be going against the everything the Bible shows otherwise.

Why did John talk about "logos?"

Why did Paul teach differently to gentiles than Jews?

Why did Christ talk differently to the Pharisees than the sinner?

Why did Peter speak differently to Jews and Gentiles?

The hearers are of UTMOST importance when we speak.

If you would like to discuss further, check out my latest post, Further Discussion on Coarse Language"

Hope you had a great weekend.

jen said...

Ok, I didn't say "only" Christ is our audience, but I suppose the way I phrased it would imply that. That's not exactly what I meant -- I apologize. I should have elaborated on that point.

My point was that Christ is the One that our speech should align with. In other words, He should be pleased with our speech no matter what crowd of people we are speaking to.

Yes, there is a need to speak the Word to a group of people in the way that they will understand, but that should never go against the way Christ would have us speak.

So I believe that pleasing Christ is of the UTMOST importance when we speak.

Speakers are dipping into the lowest of the vernacular when it simply isn't necessary to make their scriptural point. And in some cases, I truly believe it becomes unwholesome speech and course jesting.

I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree on this one because it does boil down to your definition of what unwholesome speech is. And I guess we're at an impasse there...

I'll have to read your new post later. Have to go out for a bit.

Have a blessed day...

Anonymous said...

Well Steve Camp doesn't post any comments that he can't refute if they're critical of his opinion or they contain a biblical proof that his blog entry is incorrect.

That being said, this pattern of behavior shows that this type of personality tends to lean toward the critical character who's assumptions are lacking the understanding and love that's needed in sharing the gospel message but also keeping others accountable in Christ.

Makes anything he says or posts irrelevant.

Mike D.

Anonymous said...

It seems to me that Christian bashing has become an art form for some. As far as Mark Driscoll, he ministers in contexts that the mainstream big names would not dare to venture. He does so because the love of Christ constrains him to go there. His motives to win some for Christ are in line with new Testament teaching. His message is gospel centred. By the power of the word and spirit it would seem that many have come to faith and are therefore justified. Over against those who like to throw stones at him, there are fine bible teachers who are willing to walk with him and no doubt talk with him - and my guess is to encourage and wisely chastise as needed. Does he not work along side of Don Carson and men of his character. Is not John Piper a godly man who shares the same passion for God, Christ and His church? My thinking is that we are witnessing in our own time a great revival and reformation within the church - God is in action building his church. Instead of entrenching ourselves in our own pietistic and sometimes Pharisaical enclaves - just get out there and rejoice in God and Christ and give Him thanks for what He is doing. Pray for men and women of faith who are working in some communities that card carrying pharasees would not dare enter. Mark sees his work as a missionary - we should be praying for him.

I'm in Sydney Australia - Driscoll spoke recently here about our city: see "Driscoll in Sydney":

Where does Mark's burden and passion lie? You need to ask yourself where your own burden and passion lies? Is it just to tear down those whose ministry we don't agree with or is it to see Christ's name glorified and the gospel continue to go out among those who are indeed lost?

(By the way for you north americans - have a look around the website and see what God is doing down here.)

(Seth - I would love you to develop further this whole question of $$ being made from web sites that sell sermons etc. My gut feeling is that many who could not afford it are missing out on some good teaching from some big names. Then there are sites like which have abundant free sermons to download.?

Geoff Youngs said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Geoff Youngs said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Geoff Youngs said...

Jen - I was pondering your concern about whether it is necessary for Mark to use such common language or crude illustrations.

The obvious response to the question is: no, it's not necessary.

But the more I think about it, the more I question whether "necessity" is the wrong standard to apply here: our concern should be whether it's helpful - to use the principle that Paul offers in 1 Cor 6 (I know it was a different context, but I think there's a transferable principle at stake).

I, for one, can honestly say that the hours spent listening to Driscoll have been extremely helpful. And that his use of humour has been both engaging and edifying.

The more you are shocked, the less you forget. The more bluntly the truth is presented, the more critically you engage with the content.

When Jesus was teaching neighbourly love, a story of a clean cut young Jewish boy helping collect water for the Samaritan widow across the street would have sufficed. Instead he told the gratuitously offensive story the Good Samaritan.
It was both unnecessary and intentionally offensive. And it got the message across far more clearly and memorably than the polite version would have.

Surely some of the Christians in Philippi were modestly grieved that Paul spoiled his otherwise beautiful letter by using that sk*b*l*n word. Was it necessary? Why couldn't he just call his former assets "vanity", like the Preacher of old?
It doesn't have the strength of the vernacular.
The question is: is it helpful?
And the answer is: most of the time, yes.
(I'm not sure that Driscoll has always got the right balance - and he would agree with that - but I do know that I have never seen any church leader display such candid humility when admitting to and repenting of sin in front of his congregation, as he has done in this area. And if you have been given the impression that he uses Jesus as just a source of jokes to be mined alongside the toilet, then you have been woefully deceived - I have never heard a Driscoll sermon in which Jesus was not clearly honoured as lord or lifted up and presented as the supreme, sovereign, sufficient and sole saviour of sinners.)

jen said...

The more you are shocked, the less you forget.

And the more you are shocked, the more it takes to shock you the next time. Where does it all end? When does it become too much?

There is a distinct difference in the way that Jesus or Paul spoke and the way that many pastors are speaking today. I don't recall a bit of unwholesome speech or coarse jesting in the story of the good Samaritan.

As I said, clearly we are at an impasse on this subject. It's a controversy that has been going on for some time, and I'm pretty that nothing I will say will convince you -- and no justifications will convince me.

I don't have some idea that all Driscoll does is mock Jesus. That's not what all this is about. It's not only about Driscoll.

jen said...

Uh, correction. What I meant to say is that I'm pretty sure that nothing I say will convince you. :)

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